Cameroon: scores killed in clashes with separatists ahead of senate elections
Cameroon’s military has reportedly killed scores of armed Anglophone separatists — who vowed to disrupt March senate elections in Cameroon’s western regions — in clashes over the past three weeks, detaining at least 15 others who surrendered to government forces.
Ndop district residents in Cameroon’s restive Northwest region say seven bodies were found in bushes Tuesday Feb. 21, following heavy fighting between separatist rebels and government troops. Local residents reported that in recent weeks, the fighting in Ngoketunjia has been very intensive between the separatists and the defense forces. Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists have vowed to disrupt the 12 March elections for Senate and last month killed two election officials.
The rebels, in turn, claimed to have killed scores of government troops. Cameroon’s military acknowledged it took casualties in the fighting but would not give any figures. Despite the threats and ongoing clashes, Cameroon officials say election preparations will continue.
The separatist conflict broke out in 2016 when Anglophone Cameroonians protested discrimination by the Francophone majority. Cameroon’s military responded with a crackdown and rebels took up arms with the aim of carving out an independent state they call Ambazonia. The United Nations says the fighting has since killed at least 3,500 people and displaced 750,000.