Separatist rebels killed about 20 people, including women and children, in an attack on a village in one of Cameroon’s English-speaking regions on Monday, authorities said.
The attack occurred in the village of Egbekaw in western Cameroon, where rebels and government forces have been clashing for seven years.
“The attack left about 20 people dead, including men, women, and children, and 10 people were seriously injured and had to be hospitalized,” said a senior administrative official from the region who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Cameroon’s mainly English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions have been mired in conflict since separatists declared independence in 2017.
It followed decades of grievances over perceived discrimination by the francophone majority. President Paul Biya, who has ruled the central African nation with an iron fist for 40 years, has resisted calls for wider autonomy and responded with a crackdown.
The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the International Crisis Group. Both the separatists and government forces have been accused of atrocities in the fighting.
A local gendarmerie officer reported that the rebels “attacked the civilian populations of Egbekaw, with approximately 15 houses burned and 23 casualties as of the provisional toll.”
An official from the country’s human rights commission confirmed the attack and spoke of the 15 dead.