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10 Mar 2020 | 01:06 AM UTC

Cameroon: Separatists attack soldiers in West and Northwest regions March 7-8

Separatist militants assault a village in West region and set off a bomb during a march in Northwest region March 7-8; further attacks likely over the near term

security
CMR

Event

Suspected separatist militants conducted two attacks in West and Northwest regions on Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8. On Saturday, gunmen assaulted the village of Galim in West region, killing at least seven people, including civilians and soldiers. Multiple people were also wounded in the attack and weapons were stolen from a police station. At approximately 10:00 (local time) on Sunday, an explosive device detonated near a march celebrating International Women’s Day in Bamenda (Northwest region). The blast wounded at least four members of the security forces, and temporarily suspended the march.

Similar attacks targeting security forces and government officials are likely over the near time.

Context

Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. Tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations reported that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2016.

Advice

Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid non-essential travel to the Southwest and Northwest regions, avoid all protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.