YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — Suicide bombers attacked a northern Cameroon town on Sunday morning, killing at least seven people and severely wounding 18, a local official said.
The attack hit the town of Kolofata, which sits near the Nigerian border and has been repeatedly targeted by the Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
The death toll could climb, said Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North Region, who confirmed the attack Sunday morning as he was heading to the area. He said he had been told three bombers were involved, and that the wounded were being taken to the hospital in the town of Mora.
"The death toll may be high because it was a market day in the locality and many people from surrounding villages and Nigeria usually come to buy and sell on market days," Bakari said.
The attack came one day after Major General Iliya Abbah, the Nigerian commander of a five-nation regional force set up to fight Boko Haram, concluded a visit to the Mora military base in northern Cameroon, where 2,500 troops are installed. The force is headquartered in Chad and will draw on troop contributions from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger.
Boko Haram, an affiliate of the Islamic State group, has increasingly targeted neighbors including Chad and Cameroon this year. Five other villages in northern Cameroon were attacked last week and the assailants looted and burned homes.
The extremist group's presence in Cameroon dates back to 2004, and Boko Haram now counts more than 3,000 Cameroonian combatants, the International Crisis Group said in a report released earlier this month.