The Islamic State’s West Africa province (ISWA), formerly known as Boko Haram, killed more than 20 people in a double suicide attack in northern Cameroon that was executed by two teenage girls. The jihadist group has used women and girls of various ages to carry out suicide attacks in Nigeria and Cameroon over the past year.
Both ISWA suicide bombers, who attacked a market and an adjoining neighborhood in Maroua, the capital of the Far Northern Region, were under the age of 15, according to Al Jazeera. Police officials estimated that 20 people were killed and at least 22 were wounded, but authorities also warned that the death toll may rise as recovery operations continue.
Today’s attack is the second in less than two weeks in Cameroon involving female suicide bombers. On July 12, two women detonated explosives in the town of Fotokol in the Far Northern Region, killing 13 people. The regional government banned women from wearing burkas, which ISWA often uses to mask its suicide bombers. The jihadist group has launched numerous military attacks in Cameroon’s Far Northern Region over the past several years.
The ISWA has also deployed female suicide bombers in neighboring Nigeria over the past month. On June 24, a pair of women who were thought to be in their twenties killed 30 people in separate attacks at a market and a prayer area in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Three days earlier, another woman detonated a device at a bus station in Maiduguri, killing at least 20 people. The bomber is said to have lured potential customers to her before detonating her explosives.