On the morning of November 6th, western Cameroon woke up to the sounds of violence as Anglophone separatist gunmen launched a brutal attack on the village of Egbekaw in the town of Mamfe. The assault, characterized by its ferocity, left at least 20 people dead, including women and children, and injured another 10, according to local government official Viang Mekala.
The attack, which occurred amidst the backdrop of President Paul Biya’s 41st anniversary in power, was marked by a chilling methodology: houses were set ablaze, and residents were gunned down as they slept. The senior regional administrative official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported a provisional death toll of 20, while another official cited 23 fatalities and 15 houses burned.
This latest attack is a continuation of the violence that has plagued the Anglophone regions of Cameroon since 2017 when separatists declared independence, seeking to form the state of Ambazonia. The conflict has been fueled by long-standing grievances over perceived discrimination by the Francophone majority and has been met with a heavy-handed response from the government.
The international community, including human rights organizations like Amnesty International, has condemned both the separatist militias and government forces for a spiral of attacks and atrocities, including killings, rapes, torture, and the burning of houses. The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced over a million people, as reported by the International Crisis Group.
Local residents suspect the Egbekaw attack was intended to disrupt the national celebrations and intimidate those participating in political events. The violence has not only caused immediate loss and suffering but also deepened the divisions within Cameroonian society.
As the search for the attackers continues, the nation is left to grapple with the consequences of the attack and the broader implications for peace and stability in the region.