Blast rocks market in Bamenda on Christmas Day with no casualties 0

An improvised explosive device exploded on Christmas Day morning in Bamenda, the chief town of Cameroon’s Anglophone region of Northwest that has been ravaged by years of armed separatist conflict, several local and security sources said.

The blast struck a market in the T-Junction neighborhood of the city, setting three makeshift shops ablaze, a security source said. “Fortunately the market closed for today, and that is why there were no casualties or injuries.”

“We heard the explosion sound. It was so loud and the sound caused panic among residents,” James Mbah, a resident of the city, told Xinhua over the phone.

Last week, separatist fighters warned that Christmas would not be celebrated in Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest because the feast falls on Monday, which has been imposed by them since 2017 as “ghost town day” during which all sorts of activities in the two regions do not function.

“We are all spending Christmas at home. The streets are empty and people are just afraid of the unknown and don’t want to step out,” Mbah said.

On Sunday, the region’s governor Adolphe Lele L’Afrique said extra security would be provided to churches and other places of worship because of Christmas.

“Our brave security forces will ensure the safety and security of everyone so that they can celebrate Christmas in peace. People need to collaborate with security forces as well,” the official told reporters after a security meeting in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon.

Clashes between separatist fighters and government forces intensified in the regions since the start of this year. According to reports by local non-governmental organizations and security officials, abductions were rife, and more than 100 people including soldiers, separatist fighters and civilians have been killed in the conflict since January 2023.

Source: Xinhuanet