Northern Cameroon temporarily closed its mosques and Islamic schools Sunday in another set of measures intended to increase security after several terror attacks in the region. In addition to the closures, young beggars were ordered to vacate the streets as all recent suicide bombers have been children, the Associated Press reported.
Gov. Midjiyawa Bakari said the new rules were a response to two incidents in the past week. On Wednesday, two girls under the age of 15 detonated explosions in Maroua and nearby Hausa, killing 11 and wounding 32 people. On Saturday, a 12-year-old girl set off a bomb in a bar, killing 20 and wounding about 80, the Economic Times reported.
No group has taken responsibility for the attacks, but the extremist group Boko Haram is thought to be behind them. Authorities told the AP the bombers were likely coming from Nigeria, so Bakari has asked for a list of visitors in all neighborhoods and imposed a nighttime curfew. Motorbikes, which Boko Haram fighters often use for transportation, are also banned.
Bakari made waves earlier this month when he announced women were no longer allowed to wear full burqas or veils. The announcement came after July 12 suicide bombings killed 14 people.
"No one suspected them, and that is why we have ordered women to stop wearing veils and the police and military to arrest all women wearing veils," Bakari told the AP at the time. "We are also systematically checking all vehicles, and controlling all luggage and the population should collaborate because there is a serious security threat to our nation.”
Residents of Cameroon need to create “a culture of vigilance” and report anything unusual, Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o told reporters this week. “Our country is going through a very grave moment,” he added.