The suspected militants have thrown a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe.

A Cameroon special forces soldier stands in front of a bar near the Elbeid bridge, which was destroyed by Boko Haram assailants, in Fotokol, February 17, 2015.
A Cameroon special forces soldier stands in front of a bar near the Elbeid bridge, which was destroyed by Boko Haram assailants, in Fotokol, February 17, 2015. (Reuters)

Suspected militants from Boko Haram have killed at least 16 people and wounded seven in a grenade attack on a camp for displaced people in northern Cameroon. 

The attackers threw a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe, district mayor Medjeweh Boukar said. The camp is home to around 800 people, he added. 

"The attackers arrived with a woman who carried the grenade into the camp," Boukar said, adding that women and children were among the dead.

"The toll is currently 16 dead, it is clear that it was Boko Haram that was responsible," local mayor Mahamat Chetima Abba said following the overnight attack on the Nguetchewe camp.

Another local politician, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the area where the attack took place as one in which people would "hide" from Boko Haram attacks.

The militant group, formed in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, has regularly launched attacks there since 2014, staging small-scale raids aimed at stealing livestock and food.

The area is known as the Far North, an impoverished tongue of land that lies between Chad to the east and Nigeria to the west.

"There had been a relative calm for a few weeks, but they took advantage of their knowledge of the terrain to bypass surveillance points and the positions of the security forces. They surprised us," the mayor added.

"I counted 15 bodies, some of which were dismembered, at the scene and in the morgue at the hospital, where the wounded were evacuated," a witness to the attack, who also asked to remain anonymous.

READ MORE: Nigeria announces 'massive' joint offensive on militants

Cameroon army kills five Boko Haram militants

A week before the attack the Cameroon army announced they had killed five Boko Haram militants.

After beginning in Nigeria, Boko Haram's violence has spread to Cameroon as well as Niger and Chad.

It has prompted the formation of a four-nation coalition, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), of which the Chadian army is a key component.

In Chad, the militants on Friday killed at least 10 civilians and kidnapped seven others in an attack on a village in the troubled Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram's violent campaign has killed more than 36,000 people and displaced more than two million from their homes.

In March, Chad's armed forces suffered their biggest single-day loss, when 98 soldiers were massacred in their base at Bohoma, on the shores of Lake Chad.

In response, President Idriss Deby launched an offensive from March 31 to April 3, declaring at its end that there was "not a single jihadist left" in the Lake Chad region.

But sporadic violence has continued, with an attack attributed to Boko Haram on an army vehicle last month killing eight Chadian soldiers.

READ MORE: Brutal history of Boko Haram

Source: TRTWorld and agencies