YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers posing as food vendors killed at least 24 people and injured 112 others in a market in Meme, northern Cameroon, security sources said on Friday.
It was the first time the town of Meme has been targeted but there have been previous assaults near the town of Mora, which lies near the border of northeastern Nigeria.
Last week Cameroon’s military killed 162 Boko Haram militants and arrested about 100 others in an assault, according to government spokesman Issa Tchiroma.
A Cameroonian military source said two girls carried out the attack. Girls and young women have carried out a spate of suicide bombings in the region.
“These two girls took advantage of the fact that it was the woman’s market,” said another military source. “They came like vendors, except they had explosives in their cooking pots.” The death toll may still rise.
There has so far been no official claim of responsibility for the attack, but officials pointed the finger at Nigerian-based Boko Haram.
The group, which has sought to carve out an emirate in northeastern Nigeria, has been blamed for a campaign of suicide attacks in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger over the past year.
Boko Haram violence in Cameroon has caused about 1,000 deaths, according to the government and military sources.
Boko Haram is thought to have killed about 15,000 people and driven more than 2 million from their homes during its six-year insurgency in one of the world’s poorest regions.
The U.S. military now calls it the most lethal violent extremist group in the world.
Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin have set up an 8,700-strong regional force tasked with wiping out Boko Haram. The United States has also sent troops to supply intelligence and other assistance.
Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Dakar; Writing by Edward McAllister and Makini Brice; Editing by Ruth Pitchford