‘Compatriots were the victims of a major secessionist attack,’ says local official
Suspected separatists opened fire and set several homes ablaze in an attack Monday on the town of Mamfe in southwest Cameroon, killing at least 20 people and injuring many others, said local authorities.
“Early this morning, we woke up to a terrible tragedy…At around 3 a.m. (0200GMT) on Monday Nov. 6, 2023, compatriots were the victims of a major secessionist attack in Egbekaw district, one of Mamfe’s oldest neighborhoods. At least 20 people were massacred. We’ve already discovered 20 charred bodies,” prefect Viang Mekala told the press.
He declared it “inadmissible” to attack the population in this way.
Nfor Tabe, a local traditional authority in the Central African country, also promised a response to the alleged secessionists.
“This time, we’re going to tell the women and men to use tradition openly to try and stop this situation once and for all,” he said.
Mamfe’s hospital received around 10 victims in intensive care, according to national television station CRTV, which reported that children and pregnant women were among the dead.
When contacted by Anadolu, Mamfe Mayor Tabenchong Robertson Ashu said a search is continuing to see if there are any other victims and the death toll could rise.
Several media outlets and local sources reported a higher death toll.
A resident of Mamfe told Anadolu by phone that 52 people are dead and others are seriously injured and hospitalized.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that many of the victims who had seen their homes burnt down and those afraid of further attacks were on the streets, not knowing where to spend the night.
“This tragedy occurred just as the military were crisscrossing the city to mark Nov. 6, the 41st anniversary of (President) Paul Biya’s seizure of power,” he added.
For him, this attack comes as no surprise. He recalled that separatists always take advantage of major national events to mark their presence and attack the population.
The country’s South-West and North-West regions have been ravaged by the Anglophone crisis since late October 2016.
The English-speaking minority of this bilingual country who are mostly concentrated in these two regions feels marginalized by the French-speaking part.
The so-called “Anglophone crisis” has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to move, according to the non-governmental organization the International Crisis Group (ICG).