Nigeria: Weakened Boko Haram Sends Girl Bombers Against Cameroon Civilians

Adama Simila wears a knife tied to his belt by a piece of rope, his only protection against Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist insurgents who have repeatedly targeted his home town in remote northern Cameroon.

While the threat once came from heavily armed, battle-hardened jihadists crossing from neighbouring Nigeria, today Simila knows he is more likely to die at the hands of a teenage girl strapped with explosives.

“We’re here to look out for suicide bombers,” said the 31-year-old, a member of a local civilian defence force in the town of Kerawa. After watching its influence spread during a six-year campaign that has killed around 15,000 people according to the U.S. military, Nigeria has now united with its neighbours to stamp out Boko Haram

A regional offensive last year drove the insurgents from most of their traditional strongholds, denying them their dream of an Islamic emirate in northeastern Nigeria. An 8,700-strong regional force of troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria is seeking to finish the job.

Now, increasingly on the back foot, Boko Haram is retaliating with a deadly guerrilla campaign against civilians, and ordinary people like Simila have become the last line of defence.

“I’m not scared. They are people, we are also people. We must die to live,” said Simila, who was at the Kerawa market in September when two girls detonated themselves, killing 19 people and injuring 143 others. A nearly identical bombing at the same market followed in January.

Source: All Africa