Separatists intensifying violence in western Cameroon


Ambazonia separatists

from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
Cameroon Bureau
YAOUNDÉ, (CAJ News) – THE threat of violence remains high in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon as various armed groups heighten calls for secession.

The separatists in the Southwest and Northwest regions are agitating for the independence of the so-called state of Ambazonia, which is unrecognised internationally.

They allege marginalisation by the government of President Paul Biya, which they claimed is only prioritising the interests of the majority French-speaking regions.

The oldest head of state in the world (90) has been in power since 1982.

On Christmas Day, suspected separatists detonated an explosive device in Bamenda in the Northwest. No casualties reported.

However, suspected Ambazonia secessionist militants raided a market in Bamenyam, in the West, killing at least nine residents and kidnapping an unspecified number of people late in November.

A similar attack in Mamfe, Southwest of Cameroon left at least 20 civilians dead early that month.

Security experts warned the threat of violence remains elevated in the English-speaking regions, highlighting the dangers for those operating or traveling in western Cameroon.

Security-related operations are ongoing in affected areas.

These comprise checkpoints and searches of vehicles and personnel, particularly outside major cities such as Bamenda and Buea (Southwest).

The situation has remained bloody since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed the independence of Ambazonia.

Human Rights Watch estimates that about 6 000 civilians have died.

Hundreds of thousands others have been displaced due to armed forces and separatist-linked violence since late 2016.

The military has been accused of human rights violations during crackdowns against militants.

– CAJ News

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