13, February 2019
At least 11 people have been wounded in an attack on the convoy of the governor of the English-speaking region of southwestern Cameroon, sources said Tuesday.
Armed men attacked the convoy of South West governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, who was travelling with a military escort from the regional capital Buea to Kumba, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) north.
“There were eleven wounded. Several were seriously injured by bullets,” said a member of the convoy. “The convoy was attacked both on the way home and back, five times in all,” the person added.
Photos of the attack, seen by AFP, show bullet holes in the vehicles of the convoy. On Monday, four people died when gunmen raided a hospital in Kumba and burnt it to the ground.
The town, which serves as the commercial hub for the anglophone region, has been badly hit by the violence between separatists and Cameroon troops that began in October 2017.
The Southwest region and Northwest region of Cameroon are home to an anglophone minority that accounts for about a fifth of the country’s population.
Both areas, which were once ruled by Britain, have long complained of discrimination at the hands of the French-speaking majority. Separatists have been fighting for independence.
Since the start of February, at least four people have been killed in Buea, after separatists announced plans to disrupt the February 11 anniversary — the date of a referendum that brought together French and English Cameroon in 1961.
Over the past 16 months, there have been regular clashes between troops and groups of separatists who have attacked police stations, schools and staged mass kidnappings.
UN figures show around 437,000 people have been forced out of their homes by the ongoing conflict, with another 32,000 fleeing across the border to neighbouring Nigeria.
Cameroon’s veteran leader Paul Biya, 85, won a seventh consecutive term in last October’s disputed presidential election. He has held power for 36 years.