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A Boko Haram flag at an abandoned command post in Gamboru, Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon, in February 2015.
Stephane Yas / AFP / Getty Images
Bomb attacks kill 17 in Nigeria, Cameroon
The attacks, blamed on Boko Haram, were carried out by girls who reportedly had explosives strapped to their bodies
November 23, 201511:47AM ET
Seventeen people were killed over the weekend in Nigeria and Cameroon after explosives strapped to five girls were detonated, officials said Monday.
Nigerian police, who blamed Boko Haram for the attacks, said one girl’s explosives detonated on Sunday evening at a military checkpoint in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri.
Police Commissioner Aderemi Opadokun said she died along with seven other passengers who got off a bus to be searched. A dozen other people were injured.
It was the first bomb attack in nearly a month in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency has killed about 20,000 people and driven 2.3 million others from their homes.
In Cameroon, Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said four teenage girls with explosive devices strapped to their bodies crossed into the country from Nigeria on Saturday and were approached by self-defense civilian fighters in the border town of Fotokol.
"When a member of a local vigilante committee made to stop them, one blew herself up, killing five members of a family," he 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.
The routine searches and checkpoints now in place are believed to have prevented the recent attacks from killing even more people, police said.
Suicide attacks, village raids and kidnappings continue although Nigeria's military has reportedly destroyed scores of Boko Haram camps in recent weeks.