Separatists Kill 10 Civilians in Cameroon: Ministry

Separatist rebels have killed about 10 civilians and wounded two more in one of Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions, the defense ministry said Monday.

The country’s primarily English-speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions have been gripped by conflict since separatists declared independence in 2017 after decades of grievances over perceived discrimination by the francophone majority.

President Paul Biya, who has ruled the central African nation with an iron fist for 40 years, has resisted calls for wider autonomy and responded with a crackdown.

The latest attack took place outside a bar on Sunday evening at Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest region.

A dozen separatists wearing army-type uniforms and carrying automatic weapons took people aside “before opening sustained fire at them… and also mortally wounding several clients” seated at tables, said the ministry’s Colonel Cyrille Atonfack.

The authorities have opened an inquiry into the killings, the ministry said, adding that operations continued to find the assailants.

Violent clashes erupted in Cameroon in late 2016, after which militants calling themselves “Amba Boys” declared an independent state in the Northwest and Southwest.

The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the International Crisis Group.

Both the separatists and government forces have been accused of atrocities in the fighting.

Armed groups are regularly accused of abducting, killing, or injuring civilians whom they accuse of “collaborating” with Cameroonian authorities.

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