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In the news: At least 22 dead in Cameroon village attack

A UN official said 14 children were among those killed, as violence rises in the country’s restive English-speaking regions.

A member of the Cameroonian government's elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) walks along an empty street while on patrol in the city of Buea, capital of the anglophone Southwest Region, on 4 October, 2018.
A member of the Cameroonian government's elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) on patrol in the city of Buea, capital of the contested Southwest Region, on 4 October, 2018. (Zohra Bensemra/REUTERS)

At least 22 people have been killed in an attack in northwestern Cameroon, a UN official said on Sunday – the latest incident in a wave of violence to shake the country’s restive English-speaking regions.

Some 8,000 people have fled anglophone areas in recent weeks for Nigeria, following rising violence involving the army and separatist groups, who called for a boycott of parliamentary and municipal elections earlier this month.

Read more → Briefing: Cameroon’s intensifying conflict and what it means for civilians

The attack on Friday in Ntumbo village left 14 children dead – including nine under the age of five – according to the UN official. Opposition groups said the army was responsible, but the military blamed the explosion of fuel containers during a gunfight with separatists.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 100 people were kidnapped by separatists in the run-up to the elections – the first in seven years after two postponements – while government forces also committed violations including the killing of civilians.

“This is the first time since the anglophone crisis began that I have seen this level of violence,” Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The New Humanitarian earlier this month.

Read more → Cameroon’s anglophone war, part 1: A rifle as the only way out

Fighting between Cameroon’s security forces and the anglophone rebels – who are demanding independence– has displaced around 740,000 people over the past three years and left more than 3,000 civilians dead.

– Philip Kleinfeld

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