One killed as Cameroon military helicopter crashes in restive North West region


A light helicopter belonging to Cameroon’s military crashed on 13 May in the restive North West region, killing at least one official.

The helicopter, which had seven persons on board, crashed in the forests around Oku village. It is believed to be a Harbin Z-9. Four of the type were acquired from China in 2014, but one was lost in a crash in 2015.

Witnesses said amongst the seven passengers on board, who sustained various degrees of injury, were three top administrative officials in the area, known as Divisional Officers.

Cameroon is presently neck-deep in an armed conflict in which nearly 2 000 people have been killed, according to figures by global rights advocacy outfit, International Crisis Group.

The village where the helicopter crashed is one of the strongholds of the crisis in which separatist fighters are clamouring for the creation of a new state which they call Ambazonia.

Survivors said the helicopter was not shot down, but crashed due to a poor landing.

Monday’s helicopter crash comes a day after Cameroon’s Prime Minister Dr Joseph Dion Ngute concluded a four-day visit in the region’s capital city, Bamenda, during which he campaigned for peace to return to the war-torn North West and South West regions which make up about 20% of Cameroon’s population of nearly 25 million people.