Armed separatists in English-speaking regions of Cameroon killed over 80 soldiers and police since their insurgency began in September last year, government said in a report suggesting the conflict is intensifying.
What began in late 2016 as a peaceful movement calling for greater representation of the mostly French-speaking country’s Anglophone minority morphed into conflict after a heavy-handed government response, in which troops shot at civilians from helicopter gunships and burned villages.
That bolstered support for some in Anglophone Cameroon who want to form a new state called Ambazonia.
The unrest in the oil- and cocoa-producing Southwest and Northwest regions often involves hit-and-run attacks by insurgents on the army.
“Statistics as of June 11 showed 123 attacks carried out claiming 84 lives, including 32 soldiers, 42 gendarmes, seven police officers, two prison warders and an eco-guard,” said the report, presented by Prime Minister Philemon Yang at a news conference in Yaounde.
In February, an army spokesman told Reuters separatists killed 22 soldiers and policemen in the previous five months.
No figures are available for casualties on the separatist side, but its leaders say there have been some.
The fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee to Nigeria. In the report, government pledged 12.7 billion CFA francs ($21.7 million) over 18 months to help nearly 75,000 displaced people across the two Anglophone regions.