Two Cameroonian soldiers died and four were seriously injured on Friday after a mine exploded in an anglophone region hit by violence between separatists and the government. “A Cameroonian army vehicle went over a mine” in Eyumojock, a town in an English-speaking part of the southwest, a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The source said the blast close to the Nigerian border caused “two deaths and four serious injuries”. Eyumojock lies between Mamfe, the main town of the Manyu, and Ekok “in an epicentre of violence in the southwestern Anglophone region,” the source added.
Since late 2017, anglophone separatists have killed 30 members of the security forces, according to an AFP count based on official statements and including the two deaths on Friday. Other observers in Yaounde believe the toll is higher. Northwest and southwest Cameroon are home to the English-speaking inhabitants of Cameroon, who make up 20% of the population.
Separatist ambitions have long simmered in the two minority anglophone regions in the west of the country, where people complain of being marginalised by the French-speaking elite. The deep socio-political crisis has gradually turned into a low-intensity armed conflict in recent months.
The separatists, who are fighting for independence, have asked Yaounde and military personnel to leave their territory, calling them “occupation forces”. For three months, armed separatist groups have ramped up violence against the police, kidnapped civil servants and clashed with the army.
As the crisis grows, new separatist groups have appeared, posing on social networks with weapons and a flag of “Ambazonia”, the name of the state they want to create. Cameroonians swept up in the conflict are facing a humanitarian crisis, according to aid groups, as they struggle to reach people in remote areas that have become virtually off-limits.