Cameroonian officials say Anglophone separatists are trying to disrupt the continent’s top football tournament, the Africa Football Cup of Nations, which is being hosted by Cameroon. The army says the rebels have launched small-scale attacks in the cities of Beaia and Limbe, where matches are being held. Authorities have also blamed separatists for the killing of a Cameroonian lawmaker this week.
In a video shared on social media platforms by Cameroonian separatist fighters, armed men are seen firing indiscriminately into the air while ordering about 15 children in school uniforms to be stripped naked.
In the video, two armed men wave weapons and threaten to kill any student who tries to disobey the orders of the fighters. Other voices are heard ordering the students to lie down or kill them. The students pleaded to spare their lives.
Cameroon’s Ministry of Secondary Education said on Friday that the incident happened on Thursday near Government High School Beua. Bua is a town in the English-speaking South-West region of Cameroon.
The ministry says that 15 students were on their way to school when separatist fighters stopped them and beat them up. The government said no student was injured, but their school has been closed since Thursday.
The army on Thursday acknowledged the attack on the students. In a communique read on Cameroon State Radio, CRTV, military spokesman Colonel Cyril Serge Atonfak Gymo blamed the separatists for the attack.
Anglophone separatists fighting to break away from the majority French-speaking nation in Cameroon’s western regions have vowed to disrupt the continent’s top football tournaments in Bua and Limbe.
Bua and Limbe are hosting football fans, players and match officials for group matches for teams from The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania and Tunisia.
The military says it has been in a fight with fighters since the tournament began on Sunday ((1/9)).
Clementine Yazi, a 21-year-old student of the University of Beaia, says that many people have been injured in the heavy firing and firing on the outskirts of Beaia. He spoke through one of Bua’s messaging app.
“People have been shot, some have been injured. We are scared because of those bullets. There is really tension here and students cannot study in such a tense environment so we are trying to see from the government. How will they solve this issue. [shooting] At Buea, they talked through a messaging app from Buea.
Cameroonian military says separatists have increased infiltration efforts into Bua and Limbe. The army says the separatists are frustrated by the inability to disrupt matches at the Africa Football Cup of Nations.
Capo Daniele is the deputy chief of defense of the Ambazonia Defense Forces, a rebel group in the western regions of Cameroon.
“One Cameroonian military man died in that attack, two others later died in hospital, bringing the total to three Cameroonians [military] Casualties during this football tournament. We also destroyed an armored personnel carrier of the Cameroonian army. In addition, a government school in Cameroon was closed,” he says.
The army says none of its soldiers were killed and none of its equipment was destroyed. Citizens say they saw government soldiers expel their ally’s body after a heavy gun battle in Mutengen, a town near Bua.
The military says it has killed several fighters in Limbe and around Beaia, but has given no details.
The military on Tuesday blamed separatists for the killing of an influential lawyer and opposition member of the Senate, the upper house of parliament.
No one has claimed responsibility for the murder of Henri Camende on Tuesday in the English-speaking northwestern city of Bamenda.
Tamfu Richard, a human rights lawyer and member of the Cameroonian Bar Council, says the Cameroonian lawyers’ union has called for an investigation to be launched to determine the killers of Camende.
“This is someone who is always seeking social justice. My heart is bleeding profusely. This is someone who was an outstanding lawyer within the Cameron Bar Association, who was excellent when he went to [was elected] to the Senate. Shame on those who do [killed] him,” says Richard.
The military says two others were also killed by separatists in Bamenda this week and three civilians, including two women, were abducted and taken to an undisclosed location.
Cameroon’s government and military said this week that attacks in English-speaking western regions have increased since the tournament began, but English-speaking cities are hosting them. The government says soldiers will protect all civilians and calls on people to cooperate with the military by reporting suspects and strangers in their towns and villages.