Officials in northern Cameroon are praising members of a local self-defense group they credit with reducing the number of fatalities during the latest suicide bombing attack by Boko Haram.

On Sunday morning, suicide bombers hit the town of Kolofata, killing nine civilians and wounding at least 18. But local self-defense group member Ahmidou Fouman said the toll would have been higher if the group had not noticed the suspects and stopped them from reaching more densely populated areas of the town.

Far North Region Governor Midjiyawa Bakari praised the group, urging others to follow their example.

Cameroon's north, which borders Nigeria, has been targeted repeatedly by the Nigeria-based extremists, including seven attacks that have killed nine people and injured 40 in the past five days alone.