Wearied by incessant suicide bombing against its citizens by Boko Haram militants, Cameroon has announced a closure of most of its northern markets on the border with Nigeria.
The latest attack in a market in Bodo sparked the measure. Thirty five people died in the attack, while at least 70 people were injured. Just two days after, Boko Haram suicide bomber also hit Chibok market, in Borno state, North east Nigeria.
The country’s government spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said it was the 30th attack by suspected Boko Haram fighters on Cameroon since the start of the new year, VOA reported.
Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of the far north region of Cameroon, says the decision to close markets on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria until further notice was taken for security reasons because the four female suicide bombers who attacked Bodo were disguised as traders and hid explosives in bags of vegetables they pretended to sell.
“The decision has been taken to close some markets in the border but people have been persisting to sell and to buy things. They should know that Boko Haram is looking for where people are gathering to do these attacks,” he said.
Businessman Inoussa Yegie says shock and consternation has gripped the town of Bodo, where Monday’s attack took place. He says it will take time for them to recover, in spite of the heavy deployment of troops. The 33-year-old says the decision by the government to close all border markets in their locality may backfire, especially now that Boko Haram fighters are recruiting young people to steal and seize money and goods from farmers and traders.
Yegie says traders are becoming poorer because all their shops have been sealed. He says youths who use commercial motorcycles to transport goods and people from the market to supply towns in Nigeria no longer have jobs, and they may now be tempted to join Boko Haram fighters who promise them better lives.
After Monday’s attack, Cameroon soldiers launched raids on the Nigerian town of Achigashia, from where they believe the suicide bombers came. Cameroon’s spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary says 17 insurgents were killed in the operation. He says Cameroon has counted at least 30 attacks on its territory this year.
“Faced with such harassment both un-grounded and unjustified, our defense and security forces have always retaliated leading the enemy to incur several setbacks that has considerably weakened the group and reduced it to mere acts of cowardice, especially suicide bombings, which have become its modus operandi,” he said.
*Reported by Voice of America