from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – THE murder of at least 20 civilians in south-western Cameroon is a ghastly reminder of the complex crises faced by locals in this region.
On one hand, they have to contend with militants agitating for the independence of English-speaking regions and on the other, the militants of the Nigerian based Boko Haram group that attack Cameroon regions at will.
Overnight November 6, unidentified assailants stormed the locality of Mamfe.
Attackers set ablaze houses and opened fire on residents.
Officials have confirmed the attack left at least 20 civilians dead and seven injured but local accounts suggest a higher death toll.
At the time of going to publication, there had been no confirmed claims of responsibility.
“The attack may have been carried out by Ambazonia separatists operating in Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon, or criminal armed groups from neighboring Nigeria,” a humanitarian official said.
Following the bloodbath, authorities have heightened security with the deployment of more uniformed forces.
Roadblocks and checkpoints have been mounted.
Security experts have not ruled out armed clashes involving fleeing attackers and security forces.
Cameroon, the Central African country of 28 million people, faces the double threat of the Islamist Boko Haram and secessionists demanding the autonomy of English-speaking regions.
The latter allege marginalisation by the government of President Paul Biya (90), in power for over four decades, initially as Prime Minister.
Critics say the government is prioritising the interest of French-speaking Cameroonians ahead of the English-speaking counterparts.
This in a country that is a former colony of both European nations and was first colonised by Germany.
– CAJ News