18, March 2018
Suspected separatists abducted a top civil servant Saturday in the English-speaking region of Cameroon while security sources said four people were hurt in an attack on a ministerial convoy, adding to months of recent unrest.
Ivo Leke Tambo, recently-appointed chairman of Cameroon’s anglophone educational board, GCE, was abducted just outside the southwestern town of Lewo. A video was later circulated by sources close to the secessionists showing a partially clothed Leke Tambo sat on the ground in the bush.
Authorities did not immediately confirm the abduction of Leke Tambo, the latest in a slew of abductions in recent weeks. Last month saw an official from the ministry of social affairs likewise kidnapped in the northwestern city of Batibo.
Tension has soared in anglophone parts of Cameroon, accounting for about a fifth of the population, since separatists on October 1 declared the self-proclaimed republic of “Ambazonia”.
The government was also silent on an attack reported Saturday by security sources in the southwestern English-speaking village of Alou by unidentified assailants on a convoy accompanying Economy Minister Paul Tasong.
Elsewhere, social media footage showed an attack on a bus carrying some 30 people by armed members of the self-declared Ambazonia Defence Forces. The latest unrest came a day after newly-appointed Interior Minister Paul Atanga Nji embarked on a 48-hour “peace mission” to the anglophone northeast of the country.
Speaking in regional capital Bamenda on Friday he appealed for “violent separatists” to desist. Long-ruling President Paul Biya called a rare cabinet meeting on Thursday at which he vowed to push ahead with a military crackdown on the separatists.
The west African country has had a tortuous colonial history that saw it pass from German rule to French and British hands and the anglophone minority complain of having long been marginalised by the French-speaking elite.
The past year has seen regular unrest which was ramped up further in January when 47 separatists, including their leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, were extradited from Nigeria.