YAOUNDE - Cameroon says separatist fighters have killed four policemen and wounded six in the English- speaking southwestern town of Eyumojock. The separatist fighters use of bombs is the first to be reported since the conflict that has killed nearly 2,000 people started three years ago.
Two hundred internally displaced people from Cameroon's English-speaking southwest met Sunday in Yaounde to examine increasing violence during the past month. They say raids on Tinto, Kembong and Eyang, localities the military considers separatist strongholds, have left at least 17 people dead.
Teacher Nestor Orock, who escaped fighting in Tinto a year ago, said the latest of the killings was Saturday when explosives blew up a police van at Eyumojock. He said some prople who had been considering returning home are scared.
"This thing started with [locally made] guns and now we are talking about bombs. It means that we are not secured. Something should be done to make sure that we have lasting peace. People are suffering and if policemen who are supposed to provide security are being killed with bombs, then we do not know where we will find ourselves," said Orock.
Cameroon communication minister and government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi has confirmed the attack. He said the police were on a peace keeping mission to Manyu.
Sadi said the government needs help from the public.
"The government strongly condemns, warns those who persist with dark intentions that they shall be held account for the consequences of actions committed," he said. "The government appeals to the sense of responsibility, patriotism and civic spirit of the populations and especially youths not to yield to manipulations blinded by reckless ambitions."
Cameroon accuses some of its citizens in the Diaspora of funding the secessionists and contributing money to buy arms.
The separatists have recently used social media to show bombs and guns they say they purchased and smuggled to Cameroon.
Cameroonian-born political analyst Nelson Arrey, of the university of Ndjamena in Chad, said Cameroon should no longer neglect the strength and fire power of the separatists, thinking that they are poorly armed.
"Actually this is the first attack by separatist groups using heavy weapons. It shows that there is an inflow of weapons into the country from borders and if the government of Cameroon does not call for dialogue, it is going to be hard. People are dying," said Arrey.
The crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, escalated on October 1, 2017, when militant secessionist groups symbolically proclaimed, what they called, the independence of an English-speaking state.
The United Nations estimates more than 530,000 people have been displaced since fighting broke out. It says about 1.3 million people are in need of assistance.
Source: Voice of America