- Attack on market in border town was second since December
- Authorities step up security at markets, mosques, churches
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North province has banned markets in the region following a spate of suicide bombings by Boko Haram militants that left 32 people dead this week.
All markets in towns close to the border with Nigeria will be shut down until further notice and security forces will be deployed to ensure the order is respected, Governor Midjiyawa Bakari said in a speech broadcast on Canal 2 Television late Tuesday. The decision was reached after four suicide bombers blew themselves up in the town of Bodo, which was holding its weekly Monday market. At least 80 people were injured in the blasts.
The Bodo market was previously targeted in December by two young female suicide bombers who detonated their devices when traders identified the girls as militants.
Security around markets, mosques, churches and crowded streets in the area will be stepped up, Bakari said, adding that Christian and Muslim community leaders have agreed to take turns protecting places of worship during prayer times.
“During morning prayer sessions, as well as worship services on Fridays for Muslims, Christians will man the guard and Muslims will henceforth do the same for Christians every Sunday,” he said in Maroua, the capital of the Far North.
Boko Haram, based in neighboring Nigeria, has killed hundreds of people in northern Cameroon since it began attacking villages in the area in January 2014. Cameroon’s army has joined a regional force set up last year to fight the Islamist group, which has also targeted Niger and Chad.