BUEA, Cameroon, Oct 14 (Reuters) – A army police officer in the capital of Cameroon’s restive English-speaking South West Region killed a five-year-old woman on Thursday when he fired on a automobile at a checkpoint, sparking offended protests, a senior regional official stated.
The incident might additional inflame tensions in Cameroon’s two English-speaking areas the place secessionists offended about perceived marginalisation by the French-speaking majority have been battling authorities troops for almost 5 years in an try and type a breakaway state referred to as Ambazonia. learn extra
“The gendarme stopped the car which refused to obey and he opened fired on the car. A child who was being accompanied by her parents to school died,” stated the senior official, who requested anonymity as a result of he was not authorised to talk to the media. The Gendarmerie had no official remark.
Hundreds of residents took to the streets in protest, some waving tree branches in an indication of peace, whereas others waved 500 franc CFA foreign money notes ($0.88), which they stated was how a lot the woman’s mother and father refused to pay earlier than the gendarme opened hearth.
“This didn’t just happen because they refused to pay a bribe of 500 CFA francs. It’s too much,” stated one protester, who stated the incident was a part of a sample of closely militarised safety forces harassing native residents.
He declined to present his title for safety causes.
“All they do is intimidate people. If you have an identity card, it’s a problem. If you don’t have an identity card, it’s a problem,” stated one other protester who additionally declined to present her title.
What started as peaceable protests in 2016 rapidly degenerated right into a violent insurgency pitting separatist teams in opposition to the military. Over 3,000 folks have been killed and almost 1,000,000 displaced, with either side accused of committing atrocities.
Videos shared on-line confirmed one protester marching forward of a crowd, carrying the bloodied corpse of the kid. Another video confirmed a gendarme on the bottom being stomped on by protesters. Reuters was not capable of authenticate the movies.
The protesters took the corpse to the regional governor’s workplace, the place he promised swift motion.
“How is it that a child on her way to school is killed?” Governor Bernard Okala Bilai stated as he tried to calm the group. “Rest assured that those who did it will pay. It is an atrocity.”
During the protest, sporadic gunfire erupted elsewhere in the city, forcing residents to take cowl, a Reuters witness stated. It was unclear who was capturing.
Writing by Bate Felix
Editing by Aaron Ross and Giles Elgood