Violence Mars Cameroon National Day in Western Regions

Violence Mars Cameroon National Day in Western Regions (News Central TV)

On May 20, Cameroon‘s National Day, ongoing fighting between government troops and separatists imposed a curfew, hampering business in English-speaking western districts.

At least 28 separatists who promised to disrupt celebrations in the mostly francophone nation’s English-speaking regions were killed in fierce battles, according to the military. 

According to the government, at least 30,000 citizens participated in the procession honoring Cameroon’s 50th National Day, which was led by President Paul Biya. For strategic reasons, the administration stated the military parade will be cut short to 45 minutes.

Opposition parties, including the Social Democratic Front, claim that the sick 89-year-old Paul Biya is unable to stand for two hours to thank the military during their parade, as is customary in Cameroon.

President of Cameroon Paul Biya

According to the administration, the National Day celebrations in Cameroon’s French-speaking regions were a success. Separatists said they imposed a lockdown in English-speaking western districts to protest national unity celebrations between the English-speaking minority and the majority French-speaking nation on May 20.

Capo Daniel is the deputy defense chief of the Ambazonia Defense Forces, a key separatist group in Cameroon, according to officials. He claims that fighters prevented government troops from moving French speakers to English-speaking western regions in order to give the impression that the central administration in Yaounde is popular. According to Capo, numerous government forces were slain in the process.

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Capo Daniel said; “Previously, we have seen the Cameroon government drive into our territory her own citizens to stage public celebrations of the 20th May.

“For this year, 2022, we have targeted the Cameroon forces, killing 24 of them. Across Ambazonia, our forces have signaled their presence to our populations by firing shots in the air to send a message that today [May 20] everyone should stay at home and observe a rejection of the Cameroon union with Ambazonia.”

The administration has disputed that its forces are moving French-speaking people to English-speaking areas. Six troops have been slain in recent clashes, according to the military, while 28 separatists who attempted to disrupt May 20 activities have been murdered in many northern towns, including Oku, Kumbo, Bamenda, and Nkambe.

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Colonel Samuel Tabot Orock is a government commander in Bamenda, Cameroon’s English-speaking North-West area, where he is fighting rebels. According to Orock, the military ensured that everyone who came out to celebrate was safe.

“Let the world, and Cameroon in particular, understand that the military in Bamenda know that the secessionist fighters will be doing everything in their powers to disrupt a successful 20th May celebration, that is why we are taking every single measure as far as security is concerned to make sure there is a hitch-free 20th May celebration in Bamenda,” Orock said.

Orock said running battles between government troops and separatists crippled activity in many northwestern towns and villages.

Separatists abducted at least 35 persons suspected of planning to observe the day in several towns across the South-West region, including Mutengene and Tiko, according to the authorities.

The governor of the South-West region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, talked via phone from Buea, the region’s city.

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Local administrative authorities and residents, according to Bilai, allege separatists abducting and threatening to kill those accused of disobeying military lockdown calls. Civilians, he claims, have realized that separatist assertions that fighters can establish an independent English-speaking state in Cameroon are false.

Cameroon held a constitutional referendum on May 20, 1972, in which a majority of its population chose to abolish the federal system of government that had existed since 1961 and replace it with a unitary state. Separatists claim that since the 1972 referendum, French has had an overpowering effect in English-speaking western regions.

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