At least a dozen civilians, including eight children, were killed in a village in northern Cameroon on Friday when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in an armed attack blamed on Boko Haram.
Mahamat Chetima Abba, the traditional chief in the village of Mozogo, told the AFP news agency the attackers arrived in the middle of the night brandishing machetes.
The panicked villagers tried to run off into the nearby forest when, during a stampede, the suicide bomber detonated her device.
The account was confirmed by a member of the local defence committee, who said his group had tried to repel the attack.
Cameroon’s Far North Region is grappling with deadly incursions from neighbouring Nigeria, where an armed uprising launched by Boko Haram in 2009 has killed tens of thousands of people.
Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North Region, told Anadolu Agency that “12 farmers from Mozogo were killed in an attack by Boko Haram at about 1am [00:00 GMT]”.
“Boko Haram terrorists stormed the village, firing shots in the air. Villagers fled to a park, where Boko Haram fighters brought a girl strapped with explosives,” he said. “Twelve villagers, the young suicide bomber, and a Boko Haram terrorist were killed in the explosion, while two more people were seriously injured.”
Abba, the village chief, and a regional police officer also blamed Boko Haram for carrying out the attack.
“They infiltrated the population. Boko Haram is inflicting more and more damage here,” Abba said. “However, it seems that they no longer have the means to carry out mass attacks using guns,” he said, noting that the assailants had carried machetes.
More than 36,000 people have been killed – most of them in Nigeria – and three million people have fled their homes since Boko Haram launched its uprising in northeast Nigeria in 2009.
Boko Haram and a splinter group called the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have stepped up attacks in recent years in Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.