Cameroonian military forces freed four civilians, including two students, from a suspected rebel hideout in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwestern village, Ntanka.
According to the military, four rebels were killed, four others arrested, and huge consignments of weapons seized from the separatist rebels who are fighting to create an English-speaking state in French-speaking-majority Cameroon.
The troops, a dozen, reportedly attacked the separatists camp on Friday night. On Saturday, the troops handed over four hostages – two students, a job seeker and a businessman – freed during the raid to the military commanders fighting separatists in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest, Brigadier Generals Valere Nka and Ekongwesse Divine Nnoko.
The military said a civilian was injured during the raid and rushed to the hospital.
No troops were killed or wounded. Four fighters were killed, four arrested and an unknown number, including women, fled to the nearby bush, the military said.
One of the rescued students, identified simply as Jane, said was abducted on her way to school in Bamenda and tortured for a week.
“They [fighters] started asking us that are they [fighters] too big to go to school or why do we think we are going to school?” the 17-year-old was quoted by local media as saying.
“Those questions we could not answer. They were beating us using a cutlass. We were sleeping on the floor with no bed. Nothing. That is why we are dirty like this.”
Violence erupted in Cameroon’s western regions in 2016, when English-speaking teachers and lawyers protested what they said was the overbearing influence of the French language in the bilingual country. The military reacted with a crackdown and separatists took up weapons claiming to protect civilians.
The conflict has killed more than 3,000 people and displaced over 500,000 according to the United Nations.