- The injured were immediately evacuated and taken to local hospitals in Fotokol, in Cameroon, and Gamboru, in Nigeria.
- Earlier reports had claimed that 11 people were killed and 26 others injured in an explosion believed to be a suicide bombing by Boko Haram.
- Boko Haram has been active in the Far North region of Cameroon bordering Nigeria and Chad.
Nine people have been killed after a grenade exploded Monday afternoon on a bridge over El Beid river in the Cameroonian frontier town of Fotokol. Cameroon army spokesperson, Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Nguemo said that the blast resulted from “reckless manipulation” of a grenade found in the sand in the locality by “two little boys.”
Twenty six people were also wounded in the blast on the Nigerian side of the border, a Cameroonian official said. According to Cameroon army, the injured were immediately evacuated and taken to local hospitals in Fotokol, in Cameroon, and Gamboru, in Nigeria. Witnesses said that some of the injured had their limbs blown off.
Earlier reports had claimed that 11 people were killed and 26 others injured in an explosion believed to be a suicide bombing by Boko Haram. “Investigations and eye witness accounts with the survivors of the incident proved with certainty that it was not a suicide attack,” the Army spokesperson said in a statement. The army did not state the origin of the grenade in the locality that is routinely patrolled by government forces.
The governor of the Far North Region, Midjinyawa Bakary, said that the grenade exploded late Monday on a busy bridge linking the Nigerian town of Gamboru to the Cameroonian town of Fotokol. He said that all the dead were Nigerians while the wounded included nationals from both countries. “There is a local market there and many people were crossing the bridge at the time of the blast,” Bakary said.
The governor said that officials are investigating the origins of the explosive device, but it is either from the military fighting Boko Haram extremists in the region or the Islamic extremist group. Full-scale battles have not been reported recently between the military and Boko Haram in the area. Officials have warned of the presence of landmines and abandoned or missing weapons.
Boko Haram has been active in the Far North region of Cameroon bordering Nigeria and Chad. Lake Chad is an area prone to insecurity linked to insurgency by the Boko Haram militant group. According to media reports, late last month, suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least fifty people in the area, some of whom had been fishing on the lake.
Boko Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), operate in the region. Nigerian and Cameroonian troops form part of a regional force fighting the militants. The group has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions, and created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Boko Haram began its insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, but it has since spread into the neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.