An opposition senator was shot dead in western Cameroon, where a bloody rebellion was waged by Anglophone separatists against the state, his party and an official said.
Lawmaker Henri Camende, whose body was found Wednesday, “was killed (overnight) by unidentified armed assailants,” a local communications ministry official confirmed on condition of anonymity.
He was a lawyer and lawmaker for the Social Democratic Front (SDF), one of Cameroon’s main opposition parties.
The killing took place in Bamenda, a major city in the country’s north-west region, which, along with the south-west, has seen a spate of insurgent violence by members of the region’s Anglophone minority against predominantly French-speaking security forces.
“We have found his body, his chest riddled with bullets,” SDF vice-president Joshua Osih confirmed to AFP.
He said the vehicle in which the victim was traveling at the time of the attack had “missed”.
A Senate official who requested anonymity confirmed the information to AFP.
No one had come forward to claim murder till Wednesday afternoon.
“We believe it is ‘Ambazonian,'” Osih suggested, referring to armed Anglophone rebel groups.
Cameroon has been engulfed in violence since October 2017, when militants declared an independent state in the north-west and south-west, which is home to most of the Anglophone minorities in the majority French-speaking country.
Both separatists and government forces have been accused of atrocities in the fighting, which has killed more than 3,000 people and forced more than 700,000 to flee their homes.
Armed groups are regularly accused of kidnapping, killing or injuring civilians whom they accuse of “cooperating” with Cameroonian authorities.
Several SDF leaders have been targeted in the past, including party president John Frau NDI.
The Fru Ndi has run several times against 88-year-old President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an iron grip for nearly 40 years.
Osih said that separatist elements opposed the SDF because it is a predominantly English-speaking party that participates in the political process and opposes the division of Cameroon.
It is the third largest party in the National Assembly, the lower house which, like the Senate, is dominated by Biya’s RDPC party.
NGOs and the United Nations accused Biya of suppressing discontent in English-speaking regions as well as cracking down on political opponents.