Five girls have killed at least 12 people in Nigeria and Cameroon in suicide bombings over the weekend, officials have said.
Police blamed the Islamist militant group Boko Haram for the attacks, in which the teenage bombers also died.
One girl detonated explosives strapped to her body on Sunday evening at a military checkpoint guarding an entrance to the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, they said. She killed herself and seven other passengers who got off a bus to be searched. A dozen people were injured.
It was the first suicide bombing in nearly a month in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and driven an estimated 1.5 million to 2.3 million people in the region from their homes.
Soldiers at all entries to Maiduguri make people get out of vehicles about 500 metres from their checkpoints and advance with hands raised above their heads.
Cameroon said on Monday that four teenage suicide bombers had killed themselves and a family of five when they were stopped by a self-defense militia in Fotokol town, near the border with Nigeria.
“When a member of a local vigilante committee made to stop them, one blew herself up, killing five members of a family,” a government minister said. “On hearing the explosion, soldiers fired into the air to frighten [any attackers]. The three others panicked and detonated explosives tied round their bodies, but they only killed themselves.”
In many recent attacks, bombers have detonated explosives when stopped for searches that have become routine in parts of Nigeria and Cameroon where suicide bombings have become near-weekly events.
The routine searches and checkpoints now in place are believed to have prevented the suicide bombers from killing even more people.
Nigeria’s military has reported destroying a score of Boko Haram camps in recent weeks.
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