News World Girl, 12, kills 20 in crowded bar

Girl, 12, kills 20 in crowded bar

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At least 20 people have been killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack carried out by a child at a bar in Maroua in the far north of Cameroon.

State television reported a 12-year-old girl suicide bomber blew herself up in the bar, killing 20 people and injuring at least 79 in the blast.

An earlier toll put the number of dead at 14.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the overnight attack, but the north of the country has been repeatedly targeted by Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists.

“A girl of around 12 blew herself up between two takeaway sales points,” the state TV channel said. “Security forces have sealed off the area and have made several arrests.”

The atrocity came a day after Boko Haram was blamed for a wave of attacks on villages across the border in northeastern Nigeria that left at least 25 dead and forced hundreds more to flee their burning homes.

Cameroon’s army has joined the regional military offensive against the extremists after suffering repeated deadly raids into its territory.

Maroua – the commercial hub of the extreme north of Cameroon close to the Nigerian and Chadian borders – was already reeling after 13 people were killed in twin suicide bombings on Wednesday by two teenage girls.

A resident told of “a loud explosion”, saying they had learnt there was an attack at the Boucan bar, a large and popular nightspot.

Over the past two years Boko Haram has carried out several cross-border raids and abductions in northern Cameroon but the country had previously been spared suicide attacks.

Last week, Cameroon extended a ban on full Islamic veils in parts of the country as it seeks to curb the threat from female suicide bombers.

Muslims make up around one quarter of the population.

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