Yaoundé, Cameroon | AFP | Cameroon security forces have killed four civilians in the country’s restive English-speaking west, local sources said Sunday.
One person was shot dead late Saturday in Bamenda, the main regional town where he was enjoying a night out, his family said.
“We were going home when the gendarmes stopped us. They opened fire on our vehicle because some of us were slow to get out,” the victim’s brother said.
The victim’s father confirmed that he had identified his son’s body at the local morgue.
On Friday two other people were killed by armed police on the road linking Bamenda to neighbouring Bafut.
The police opened fire because the civilians “did not comply” when they were pulled up, a security source said.
Meanwhile in the Belo region a 26-year-old man was killed Friday, shot dead while hiding in a loft space while security forces were trashing private homes, local residents said.
Witnesses spoke of destroyed homes, broken windows and televisions, radios and computers thrown into a pile then set ablaze.
The action by the security forces came after the death of two police officers in the area the previous day, which the authorities blamed on separatists.
The violence follows Nigeria’s extradition to Cameroon of 47 separatists on Monday, including their self-proclaimed president, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe.
The separatists are demanding independence for two western regions that are home to most of the country’s anglophones, who account for about a fifth of the population.
Their campaign draws on widespread resentment over perceived discrimination at the hands of Cameroon’s French-speaking majority.
On October 1 last year, the breakaway movement issued a symbolic declaration of independence for “Ambazonia,” their name for the putative state.
Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, has responded with a crackdown, including curfews, raids and restrictions on travel.
The anglophone minority in Cameroon is a legacy of the colonial period in Africa.