CAMEROON, Jul 26 – At least 14 people were killed on Saturday night in a bomb attack on a bar in Maroua in the far north of Cameroon, just days after deadly twin bombings in the regional capital, security sources told AFP.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the north has been repeatedly targeted by Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists.
At around 9:30 pm local time (2030 GMT) the toll stood at 14 dead, a military official deployed as part of the fight against Nigeria-based jihadist group Boko Haram said on condition of anonymity.
“There are many wounded but we will only be able to give a more accurate picture tomorrow,” said the official.
Saturday’s attack took place at around 7.45 pm when a man “threw a bomb” towards a bar in the Ponre district, said a security source, requesting anonymity.
“I was about 200 metres from the site of the explosion,” the source said.
“The bomber fled after throwing the bomb. Residents who were not hurt went after him, but he set off a grenade” to keep them back, the source added.
A police officer at the scene said he had counted “12 bodies” shortly after the attack.
A resident in the town told of “a loud explosion”, saying they had learnt there was an attack at a large bar named “Boucan”.
On Wednesday, 13 people were killed in twin bombings in a central market and in a nearby neighbourhood by two girls said to be “under 15” years of age.
The assault was the second of its kind in the area in the past 10 days, despite a major regional offensive against the Boko Haram group which still poses a major security threat as it steps up its attacks in the restive Lake Chad region.
On Saturday at least 25 people were killed in fresh attacks believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, with many villagers also forced to flee their homes.
Over the past two years the group has carried out several cross-border raids and abductions in northern Cameroon but the country, which is engaged in a regional fightback against the jihadists, had previously been spared from suicide attacks.
Last week, Cameroon extended a ban on full Islamic veils in parts of the country as it seeks to curb the violence.
The full veil was already banned in the northern and western regions of Cameroon. It is now also forbidden in the east.
A new, five-nation force — from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin — is due to deploy by July 30 to take on the Islamic State Group-allied militants, whose six-year insurgency has left at least 15,000 dead and increasingly threatened regional security.