Cameroon region curfew enters fifth day

Bamenda Airport in North West Cameroon. The government has imposed a 10pm to 5am curfew in the city in the crackdown against agitation for secession by the Anglophones. NDI EUGENE NDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The latest curfew in the restive northern western Cameroon city of Bamenda entered its fifth day on Sunday.

The city is the capital of the Northwest Region and has been the epicentre of the Anglophone protests that continue to rock Cameroon.

Cameroonian authorities on Wednesday imposed a 10pm and 5am curfew on Bamenda, which they said would remain in force till November 28.

Issuing the order, local administrative officer Songa Pierre Rene said the restriction on the movement of people, vehicles and motorbikes must be strictly adhered to.

Law and order

He did not give reasons for the curfew, but it came just a day after ‘separatists killed’ two security officers in Bamenda. Another one had been killed in the nearby town of Jakiri a day earlier.

The order said any ‘person or group of persons’ violating the curfew would be punished in accordance with the rules and regulations in force.

The movement restriction, however, does not apply to “vehicles of administrative authorities, forces of law and order, army rescue unit, ambulances and those ranking as such,” the decree said.

Defence minister Joseph Beti Assomo said the the security officers deployed to restore and maintain public order in the the Northwest Region were killed "by terrorists with weapons of war".

“These security officers lost their lives because of their courage, commitment and loyalty to the fatherland,” Mr Assomo said, promising that the deceased “will receive military honours due for soldiers fallen on the battlefield”.

The government has termed some Anglophone activists calling for the independence of the English speakers from the majority Francophone Central African state as “secessionist terrorists”.

Though the Cameroon Francophone-Anglophone divide dates back to the post-colonial period, demands for the independence of the Southwest and Northwest Regions — home to Anglophones who account for about a fifth of the nation’s 23.4 million

citizens, have intensified within the past 12 months.

Security forces

English speakers say they suffer economic inequality and discrimination at the hands of the Francophone majority, particularly in education and justice, despite a post-independence reunification deal, where they expected to be equal partners.

On October 1, protesters gathered in towns across the country’s two English-speaking regions to mark a symbolic declaration of independence of their state of Ambazonia and were confronted by police firing teargas canisters and live ammunition.

Over 20 people were shot dead by security forces, tens of others were injured and over 500 more detained, according to Amnesty International, though Yaoundé put the number of the dead between 10 and 12.

At least 5,000 Anglophone Cameroonians have fled the crisis for neighbouring Nigeria, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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