YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The UN Refugee Agency on Tuesday strongly condemned a Boko Haram attack on a camp hosting 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Cameroon’s Far North region.

At least 19 people, including two suicide bombers, died and 16 others were injured in the attack near the village of Nguetchewe early on Sunday, according to Cameroon’s Defense Ministry.

It said the injured were evacuated to a hospital in Koza and others were referred to a medical facility in Maroua.

“UNHCR is deploying an emergency mission to assess the situation and evaluate the protection and health needs of those affected,” the agency said in a statement.

“Some 1,500 people, including terrified residents of the hosting village, have fled to the nearby town of Mozogo for safety.”

UNHCR urged all sides to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of IDP camps and to respond promptly to the urgent needs of people who have fled violence and suffered multiple displacements.

The attack follows a significant rise in violent incidents in Cameroon’s Far North, including looting and kidnapping by Boko Haram and other armed groups active in the region, according to UNHCR.

The Central African country’s Far North region, tucked between Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states and Lake Chad, currently hosts nearly 322,000 IDPs and 115,000 Nigerian refugees.

Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, before expanding its attacks to neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, prompting a military response.

Violence committed by Boko Haram has affected some 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others, according to UNHCR.

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