Four suicide bombers attacked a market and town on Monday in Cameroon’s Far North region near the border with Nigeria, killing at least 35 people and wounding 65 others, officials said.
Cameroon officials blamed the Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram for the attack, saying the assailants crossed over from Nigeria. In response, Cameroon soldiers carried out raids into Nigeria from the Cameroonian town of Achigashia, killing at least 17 insurgents, Cameroon’s Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary said Monday night.
“The suicide bombers were escorted to Cameroon by Boko Haram fighters,” Bakary said. “We must trace them wherever they are.”
Two of the suicide bombers targeted the market of the Cameroonian border town of Bodo and two others detonated explosives in town, said the region’s governor, Midjiyawa Bakari. The wounded have been taken to hospitals in the northern Cameroon city of Kousseri, he said.
Suicide bombers have killed dozens in the region in the past month. On Jan. 18, a 14-year-old suicide bomber attacked a mosque in the region, killing four – the fifth attack on a mosque in Cameroon in less than a month.
Boko Haram militants began stepping up attacks early last year on neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad, countries contributing to efforts to crush Boko Haram.
Boko Haram joined the Islamic State group in March. On Monday, the IS-linked Amaq News Agency posted a message reporting suicide bombings in northern Cameroon, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites. The message said the attacks on Bodo village targeted “gatherings of the militias allied with the army operating on the border with Nigeria.”
Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and displaced 2.3 million, according to Amnesty International and the United Nations.