Calm is yet to return to the Nacho neighbourhood in Bamenda, Cameroon after nine persons were shot dead by suspected separatist fighters. Some of the non-state armed groups were dressed in military attire during the attack that took place around 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.
Witnesses say they heard gunshots from a drinking spot in the area, and later discovered eight persons, including two women, had been shot dead.
A gruesome video filmed and shared on the online messaging App, WhatsApp, by another witness shows one of the victims still struggling for life. He was later declared dead.
One of those who was sitting at the drinking spot at the time of the attack and sustained a gunshot injury said they were having a good time until the ‘boys’ came shooting randomly.
Denis said he didn’t notice when about five men entered the bar and started shooting. He was shot in the leg. He was later taken to his car and parked close to the bar by a friend.
“I struggled and kept praying they shouldn’t see me. Other people too were running and shouting. I quickly got into my car and my friend took me to the hospital,” he said.
He is currently receiving treatment in one of the hospitals in Bamenda.
Two other victims, severely wounded, have been transferred to the Regional Hospital in Bamenda where they are being attended to.
Separatist fighters are struggling to institute a State over the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
According to Human Rights Watch, they have resulted in kidnappings and killings of civilians whom they consider “traitors”, commonly called “blacklegs”. They are often spotted in videos shared on social media, wearing military attire seized from soldiers they killed in previous operations.
Citizens in these parts of Cameroon are caught between separatists and the military. They have to either work with separatists or face the consequences and vice versa.
A day before Sunday’s shooting, five persons were killed by the military on a manhunt for suspected separatist fighters who witnesses say were terrorizing the quarter, and kidnapped citizens for ransom.
Many stipulate Sunday’s shootings is in retaliation to the military’s intervention on Saturday July 15, which led to the death of some separatist fighters. The military is said to have killed civilians in the said operation.
The two incidents occurred at a time when the region’s governor was in Yaoundé to take part in the country’s semestrial governors’ conference, with a major focus on security.
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