HEAD: Cameroon says attacks increased during Ramadan
TEASER: Defense minister dispatched to find lasting solutions
Cameroon has dispatched its defense minister to its northern border with Nigeria following a recent series of suicide bomb attacks that has left dozens dead. Militant group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the carnage. The central African state says the bombers have infiltrated markets and mosques as end of Ramadan feast draws near.
Medical staff at the Mora hospital on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria have attended to at least 50 people injured in six suicide bomb attacks in the towns of Mora and Kolofata within 24 hours. Among the medical staff brought in from the neighboring town of Maroua is Dr. Jean Daniel Essam Sime.
He says they are struggling to save the life of a woman who was brought to them with parts of her abdomen and legs cut off, as well as a breast feeding 40-day old baby whose hands were injured.
Security stepped up
Among the wounded is 37-year old self defense group member Younoussa Ousmanou. He says he got wounds from explosives detonated by one of the bombers. He says two of his colleagues died. Ousmanou says he is going back to join other members of the self defense groups in protecting their villages.
He says they noticed that attacks had increased during Ramadan and decided to assist the military by intensifying control along the border zones with Nigeria where most of the suspects come from. He says they work round the clock in groups of ten dispatched to all road junctions and all entrances to their villages.
Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the far north region of Cameroon says the six teenage suicide bombers, including 3 females, came from Nigeria to target areas with crowds of people. He says 15 suicide bomb attacks have killed dozens in Mora and Kolofata within the past 10 days.
He says while waiting for Cameroon’s defense headquarters in Yaounde to take more drastic measures to stop suicide bombing, he has instructed the military in his region to create security belts around border zones and in affected villages to assure the security of all. He says the military should double vigilance, be very rigorous in control and seal all border zones used by suicide bombers.
Clerics instructed to be watchful
Moussa Oumarou, president of the Cameroon Association of Muslim Dignitaries and Imams says they have sent members to the area to educate the population and instruct local Muslim clerics to be watchful. He says the attacks are increasing because terrorists use the holy month of fasting to deceive young Muslims that if they die fighting for Allah they will go straight to paradise.
Oumarou says it is imperative for Muslim leaders to teach all of their faithful, especially the youths that terrorists are using Islam to kill and destroy. He says the population should be made to understand that Islam is synonymous to peace and tolerance and has nothing to do with radicalization.
Saturday Cameroon dispatched its minister of defense, Joseph Beti Assomo, and its top military leadership to the northern border with Nigeria to reinstate peace and security as Muslims prepare to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
The UNHCR reports that the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and its spill over to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger has caused the displacement of more than 2.7 million people and killed 25,000.