Teenage 'Mentally Handicapped' Girl Suicide Bombers in Cameroon, Nigeria Unleash New Attacks, Killing 34; Boko Haram Blamed

( [email protected] ) Jul 27, 2015 10:07 AM EDT
A 12-year-old female suicide bomber blew up a bar in the African country of Cameroon, killing 20 people. Another bomber described as “mentally handicapped” killed 14 people in Nigeria.
Emmanuel Braun/Reuters

A 12-year-old female suicide bomber blew up a bar in the African country of Cameroon, killing 20 people. Another bomber described as "mentally handicapped" killed 14 people in Nigeria.

According to Reinnier Kaze of Agence France-Presse, the child bomber blew herself up Saturday night in a bar in the city of Maroua, leaving 79 others injured.

"A girl of around 12 blew herself up between two takeaway sales points. Security forces have sealed off the area and have made several arrests," Cameroon state TV said.

AFP reported that Cameroon's army has joined the fight against the terror group known as Boko Haram, which has previously conducted raids into the country. The attacks have mainly occurred in the Lake Chad region.

"There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either bombing, but Nigeria and increasingly Cameroon have suffered repeated attacks by Boko Haram extremists, including a recent string of suicide attacks by women and girls," Kaze wrote.

According to AFP, the city of Maroua, located in northern Cameroon, was previously targeted by suicide bombers on Wednesday. Those attacks, which were carried out by two teenage girls, killed 13 people in a central market and a nearby neighborhood.

"Motorbikes, which the insurgents often use to stage their raids, are banned in Maroua after dark, and several regions of Cameroon have prohibited the use of the full Islamic veil as they seek to curb the threat from female suicide bombers," Kaze wrote.

According to Aminu Abubakar and Ralph Ellis of CNN, Maroua also served as a military base for the elite force in Cameroon's army, which is currently fighting Boko Haram.

"In recent months, the terror group has intensified suicide attacks and deadly raids on Cameroonian territory from its base inside Nigeria," Abubakar and Ellis wrote.

As for the attack in Nigeria, the bombings occurred in the city of Damaturu, where a "mentally handicapped" female bomber killed 14 people. Witnesses and hospital sources described the scene as it happened on Sunday to AFP.

"Today is the market day here and at 9:50 (0850 GMT) this morning, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the... entrance of the market where commuters were arriving," trader Abdullahi said. "We evacuated 15 dead bodies to the hospital, including the suicide bomber who was identified as a mentally unstable woman that had been known for years in the area."

Abdullahi added that the bomber was around 40 years old. A nurse from a local hospital confirmed to AFP under condition of anonymity the death toll, adding that 47 people were injured, many of them in critical condition.

"Eight of the dead are women. One of them, from all the indications, was the suicide bomber," the nurse said.

AFP reported that the Nigerian city of Damaturu was previously attacked by a triple suicide bombing on July 18 that left at least 13 people dead. That attack happened during the Muslim Eid festival, which marks the end of Ramadan.

"The town is the capital of Yobe state which, along with the other northeastern states of Borno and Adamawa, has been the worst hit by Boko Haram's bloody campaign for a hardline Islamic caliphate, which has left 1.5 million people homeless since 2009," Kaze wrote of the attacks in Nigeria.

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