Explosives used by two female suicide bombers in northern Cameroon on 11 October were made in France, the Nigerian army claims.
At least nine people were killed in the attack in the northern Kangeleri Mora District when two women detonated their explosives near Mora town. Some 29 people were also injured in the twin explosions blamed on Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram, renowned for kidnapping women and children and forcing them to carry out suicide attacks.
French arms sold to Nigerian army
The explosives used by Boko Haram suicide bombers have been attracting the attention of both Cameroonian and Nigerian security services after it merged the cluster munitions were manufactured in France.
According to photos published by the Nigerian army, the serial number of the explosives can be linked back to France, and a firm named Matra which, at the beginning of the 1980s, helped equip the Nigerian army with cluster submunitions bombs – dubbed "Beluga".
The Beluga bombs weigh 285 kilos each and contain 151 submunitions. While the bombs are difficult to conceal, the smaller submunitions, GR-66-EG, only weigh 1.3 kilos.
On detonation the bombs scatter fragments able to pierce 4mm of steel at 10m distance, and can kill within a 50m radius.
While it is still unclear how Boko Haram managed to get such weapons, specialists say France may have sold them to Nigeria at the same time as Alpha Jets, aircraft optimized for ground attacks.
According to RFI, the terror group insurgents probably recovered the Beluga bombs in ammunition depots on Nigerian Alpha Jets air bases, notably in Kano and Kainji.