14 children among up to 22 dead in Cameroon massacre: UN

A massacre in an anglophone region of Cameroon left up to 22 villagers dead including 14 children, the UN said, with an opposition party blaming the killings on the army.

Armed men carried out the bloodshed on Friday in the village of Ntumbo in

the Northwest region, James Nunan, a local official of humanitarian

coordination agency OCHA, said.

Up to 22 civilians were killed, including a pregnant woman and several

children, Nunan said, adding that 14 children including nine under age

five were among the dead.

Eleven of the children were girls, said Nunan, head of OCHA’s office for

the Northwest and Southwest regions, which are home to the West African

country’s large English-speaking minority. Separatists in the regions have

been fighting the central government for three years.

The Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon, one of the country’s two main

opposition parties, issued a statement saying: The dictatorial regime (and)

the supreme head of the security and defence forces are chiefly responsible

for these crimes.

A key figure in the separatist movement, lawyer Agbor Mballa, in a

Facebook post also accused state defence forces of carrying out the

killings.

An army official denied the allegations, saying simply: False. No other official response was immediately available.

The three-year conflict between anglophone forces seeking to break away

from French-speaking Cameroon has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes.

Friday’s killings followed elections on Feb 9 that were marred by

violence in the regions blamed both on separatists and security forces.

Armed separatists prevented people from voting, threatening reprisals,

while government soldiers were a heavy presence.

Separatists kidnapped more than 100 people and torched property in the

run-up to the elections, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.

The government has not yet announced the results of the elections or

turnout figures.

Source: Nam News Network (NNN)

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