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YAOUNDE - Cameroon is calling on people living in two villages bordering Nigeria to return from their hideouts after two teenagers detonated explosives and killed at least 10 civilians. The military says it has secured the area, but civilians maintain that the villages have been infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists.
Speaking via a messaging app from the northern village of Blama Kamsoulou, community official Adamu Sidiki says dozens of people have fled since Sunday night's suicide bombing, fearing Boko Haram.
About 70 people have escaped to the bushes and nearest towns because they believe Boko Haram is making a powerful comeback, Sidiki said, adding that barely two weeks ago, the terrorist group killed at least 90 Chadian soldiers in the nearby Boma peninsula. It is high time Cameroon protected its citizens by redeploying its military to border zones that terrorists are again occupying, he said.
Cameroon's government said in a release Monday that two male suicide bombers were spotted by civilians Sunday near the Blama Kamsoulou village primary school. When the attackers noticed that they were being monitored, they rushed to the traditional ruler's palace and detonated the explosives they were carrying.
Roger Saffo, secretary general of the Far North Region governor's office, said the blasts took the lives of many villagers.
"On the spot, there were nine people killed and 15 people wounded," Saffo said. "I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to our population to be more vigilant, to be cautious, to collaborate with the forces of law and security."
Suffo said the wounded were transported to a hospital in the nearby town of Mora, where one person died. Nine others are in critical condition.
Midjiyawa Bakary, governor of the Far North region, said he has ordered soldiers to deploy to the border villages that Boko Haram fighters have allegedly infiltrated.
Local vigilante committees should be reinforced immediately and civilians should work in collaboration with the militias to make sure both the military and administrative authorities are informed anytime strange people are found in their villages, Bakary said.
On March 24, Chad's president, Idriss Deby, announced that 92 Chadian troops were killed in a Boko Haram attack that lasted several hours. He said 24 army vehicles were destroyed, and captured military arms were taken away in speedboats by Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has also renewed attacks on the Nigerian military, with the killing of at least 50 soldiers in an ambush near Goneri village in Nigeria's northern Yobe state in March.
Cameroon has not reported a large-scale Boko Haram attack for the past two months, but the Islamist militant group invades the territory regularly for supplies or to kidnap citizens for ransom.