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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cameroon troops deployed to government-owned hotel before presidential poll amidst secessionist threats

Xinhua | Less than two weeks before the presidential election of Cameroon, security forces were quickly deployed to a government-owned hotel in the country’s commercial capital Douala after a false attack alarm sounded, governor of Littoral region, Ivaha Diboua Samuel Dieudonne said in a statement to the press on Monday.

DieudonneLocal witnesses said a large number of police officers and soldiers were sent to Sawa Hotel after gunshots were heard at the hotel late in the afternoon on Monday.

A video secretly recorded by one of the hotel customers showed Cameroon elite force, Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) evacuating and escorting a few civilians from the four-star hotel.

The police rushed to the scene and locked down the hotel but the governor later announced that it was a “false alarm” .

“There was a systematic search of all the hotel rooms following warning shots by security forces. Well-founded investigations opened immediately after the incident confirmed that the establishment is under no threat.” Dieudonne said the statement.

“Suspected individuals were intercepted on the road by security forces and they escaped to the hotel premises. Security forces fired in the air to warn the individuals who were later arrested” said Pierre Moifo, general manager of the hotel.

There was general panic in Douala following the incident but Dieudonne said the situation was “under control” .

Security forces in Cameroon are on the alert following reports that armed separatist forces fighting to secede the two English-speaking regions of Southwest and Northwest from French-majority Cameroon have been detected in the cities of Yaounde and Douala, a security source told Xinhua.

An armed conflict is in progress in the country’s only two Anglophone regions where armed separatist forces have declared “independence” since October 1 last year. They have vowed to disrupt the presidential poll scheduled on Oct. 7 this year.