Armed separatists in Cameroon’s troubled Anglophone region attacked a village before being repelled by soldiers, security officials said Friday. “A group of secessionists on Thursday attacked the locality of Dadi,” a source said, referring to a village in the Mamfe area of Southwest Region — one of two areas shaken by unrest in Cameroon’s Anglophone minority.
“The army repelled the attack… inflicting fatalities among the assailants,” a security official said. The account was confirmed by a military source.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the reported attack. Cameroonian press reports said the attackers came “from a neighbouring country” and left behind 26 hunting guns and a pump-action shotgun, as well as 20 mobile phones and dozens of T-shirts printed with “Ambazonia Defence Force,” a reference to the separatists’ self-declared homeland.
English-speakers, who account for some 20 percent of Cameroon’s population of 23 million, have long protested at what they perceive to be bias in favour of the French-speaking majority.
Since November 2016, resentment has fed demands for autonomy or a separate state. Cameroon’s 84-year-old president, Paul Biya, has rejected the demands and ordered a crackdown, including curfews, raids and restrictions on travel. International monitors say at least 20 and possibly 40 people have been killed since late September.
There have also been escalating attacks on police and the military. Ten were killed in November alone. The Mamfe area has become a hotspot for such attacks, including the killing of four soldiers last month. The Anglophone minority dates to the emergence of Cameroon in 1960-61, as France and Britain wound down their colonies in West Africa.