Separatist rebels killed around 20 people, including women and children, on Monday in an attack on a village in one of Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions, security and local officials said.
The attack occurred in the village of Egbekaw in western Cameroon where rebels and government forces have clashed for seven years.
“The attack left around 20 dead, men, women and children, and 10 seriously injured people are in hospital,” a senior regional administrative official said on condition of anonymity.
A security forces official and an official from a governmental body also confirmed the attack and provisional toll.
Cameroon’s primarily English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions have been gripped by conflict since separatists declared independence in 2017.
It followed 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 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.
Rebels “attacked the civilian populations of Egbekaw and the provisional toll is 23 dead and around 15 houses burnt,” a local gendarmerie officer told AFP by telephone, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
An official from the country’s human rights commission confirmed the attack and spoke of 15 dead. “But this figure can evolve,” the source told AFP.