A “horrific escalation of violence” fueled by clashes between security forces and separatist groups in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has led to the death of 400 “ordinary people” already this year, the human rights group Amnesty International reported this week.
On Tuesday, Amnesty noted:
The brutal attacks against ordinary people and security forces are further proof of the horrific escalation of violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions … As a result of the violence in the Anglophone regions, up to 400 ordinary people have been killed since a year by both the security forces and the armed separatists.
Amnesty International has also recorded more than 260 security incidents since the beginning of the year, ranging from clashes between armed separatists and security forces, kidnappings of members of the general population and the killing of security forces by armed separatists. The incidents also include unlawful killings by the security forces, and the destruction of private properties by both sides.
Armed separatists from the Ambazonia Liberation Forces have reportedly decapitated at least one member Cameroon’s security forces. No one is safe from the escalating violence, according to the human rights group.
“The situation in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon is becoming increasingly desperate with no one spared from the violence which is spiraling out of control,” Samira Daoud, the organization’s regional director for West and Central Africa, said.
“By also attacking and kidnapping students and teachers, we have reasons to believe many other lives of ordinary people are now at risk with the violence carried out by some members of the armed separatist groups. This must immediately stop,” Daoud added.
Amnesty has also recorded the deaths of more than 160 members of the security forces at the hands of armed separatists since the conflict in the African nation started in late 2016.
Since 2016, armed separatists seeking independence from the French-speaking regions of Cameroon have been clashing with security forces.
Al Jazeera reported:
Separatist unrest in Cameroon’s two minority English-speaking regions – the Northwest and Southwest – has left hundreds dead and displaced about 200,000 people since late 2016.
Years of resentment at perceived discrimination at the hands of Cameroon’s majority French speakers have led to almost daily acts of violence and retribution, triggering an army crackdown.
Daoud warned of an “upsurge in violence” during the upcoming elections, cautioning that armed separatist may seek to “disrupt the electoral process at all costs in the Anglophone regions.”
Cameroon’s presidential elections, considered “one of the most uncertain and dreaded,” are scheduled for early October.
“Violence will only fuel further incidents, crimes, and untold suffering. The government must act immediately against this in an attempt to restore peace in the Anglophone regions,” the Amnesty official declared.