Unidentified gunmen in Cameroon’s biggest English-speaking city have killed at least nine people, including a newly married couple.
Simplice Lontsi Tsomene, 37, and Hélène Raisa Tanga, 25, were parents to three children and owned a phone shop.
The attack in Bamenda is being blamed on separatist rebels. The gunmen arrived at a busy junction in two unmarked vehicles, shouting at people to lie down, but then started shooting when some panicked residents tried to run away.
Eyewitnesses say gunmen accused the victims of being “black legs”, suggesting they were either collaborating with the government or not respecting the orders of the separatists.
Rebels who want to create a separate country called Ambazonia for Cameroon’s English-speaking regions have been locked in conflict with the government since 2017, and Bamenda is one of their hotspots.
A day before these latest shootings, troops attacked a residence in the same neighborhood of Nacho, killing five young men.
The situation is rapidly deteriorating, with horrendous human rights abuses and atrocities being committed. Amnesty International recently published a report detailing alleged murders and rapes by both sides in the Anglophone armed conflict and urging the government to investigate.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the killings, some separatist Ambazonia leaders in the diaspora have been urging their fighters to go after those they brand as “black legs”, without mercy.