Soldiers have shot and killed at least seven people and wounded others in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions during protests by activists calling for its independence from the majority-Francophone country, according to official and witnesses.
Sunday’s demonstrations – timed to take place on the anniversary of Anglophone Cameroon’s independence from Britain – came as a months-old movement against perceived marginalisation by the Francophone-dominated government gathered pace.
Cameroon’s divide has its roots in the end of the first world war, when the League of Nations divided the former German colony of Kamerun between the allied French and British victors.
Donatus Njong Fonyuy, mayor of the town of Kumbo, said five prisoners were killed at around 6am local time (05:00 GMT) after the jail where they were being held caught fire.
“We don’t know what caused the fire in the prison … But five prisoners were killed by soldiers. Two were wounded by bullets and are at the hospital,” he told Reuters news agency, adding that another two civilians were also injured.
In other incidents in Kumbo, soldiers shot and wounded two demonstrators around midday who had raised the blue and white flag of the Ambazonia separatist movement in the town.
Another was killed later attempting to do the same at the local chief’s palace.
Police and army officials were not immediately available to comment on the shootings.
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