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Bomb Blasts Kill 20 In Maroua 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Inhabitants of Maroua, the Chief town of the Far North Region, are in a state of pandemonium following two bomb blasts on Wednesday, July 22. According to security sources, the blasts hit the central market and another neighbourhood known as ‘Quartier Hausa’ almost at the same time at about 2.30 pm.

A Police source told The Post that the blasts left 20 people dead. He revealed that 12 people died at the Central Market while eight others died in the blast at the ‘Quartier Hausa’ neighbourhood. He, however, said the death toll was likely to rise, given that many other people were gravely wounded.

One other source who spoke to this Reporter with a panic-stricken voice, said he watched with disbelief how many corpses were being ferried from the central market to the Maroua Regional Hospital. A source at the hospital said most of the corpses were badly mutilated with heads, arms and in some cases, legs cut off.

Eye witnesses said the bomb at the central market was detonated by a female suicide bomber who was wearing a black Muslim veil popularly known as “burqua”. Another source said the two young girls who blew off themselves in the blasts were between the ages of 9 and 13.

It is reported that one of them sat in the market pretending to be selling dry fruits that Muslims usually eat during the fasting periods.The Post learnt that the ‘Quartier Hausa’ incident took place after some CRTV Reporters had just left the place after interviewing family members of the new Director General of Elections at Elections Cameroon, ELECAM, Dr. Abdoulaye Babale. The bomb exploded a few minutes after they left the place.

The incident took place at the time that the Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakari, was holding a security meeting in his office with traditional rulers of the area. It is the first time such an incident is taking place in Maroua since the upsurge of attacks by the Nigerian Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Before the incident in Fotokol two weeks ago, the phenomenon of suicide bombing was a strange thing in Cameroon. In the wake of such a situation, authorities are prepared for a full asymmetric war against Boko Haram. Security operatives are on a red alert in all parts of the country, especially in the nation’s, capital Yaounde, where security around public buildings has been tightened.

As we were heading for press CRTV reported the Head of State’s condemnation of the dastardly attack. According to the State broadcaster, Mr. Biya extended his profound sympathies to the bereaved families and called on Cameroonians to be even more alert than before and to report all suspicious persons as well as every suspicious movements to the police.

In a similar move, the wearing of the popular gear by Muslim women known as the burqua has so far been outlawed in three out of the 10 Regions of the country. They are the Far North, West and Littoral Regions. The banning order is signed by the respective Governors of these Regions.

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