Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Anglophone Crisis: deadly weekend, several soldiers killed

Over the weekend, five security agents were killed in new violence in western Cameroon, security sources and witnesses said Monday.

Four gendarmes were killed in Esu, a village near the town of Wum in the northwestern region, when their unit was attacked on Sunday, a source close to the regional security services said.

"The attack took place in the morning, they were new recruits who were caught off guard," the source said, adding that wounded were also found.

The residents of Esu fled after the attack, "Many people were so afraid that they hid in the bush - others are trying to get to Bamenda," said the source in the capital of Northwest region.

In the neighboring southwestern region, a police commissioner, Ekah Njume, was killed on Sunday at his home in Mutengene, near the capital Buea, by unidentified assailants, witnesses and press reports said Monday.

The two regions are home to mainly English speakers, a minority representing about one fifth of the 22 million inhabitants of Cameroon, a predominantly French-speaking West African state.

Years of resentment among Anglophones over perceived discrimination fueled demands in 2016 for a return to the federal structure of the country.

President Paul Biya, 85, has adopted a hard line, excluding any concession.

As the situation became more polarized, the English-speaking militants on October 1st made a symbolic declaration of independence that sparked government repression.