Top opposition lawmaker shot dead in Cameroon

AFCON

Cameroonian security forces patrol streets leading to the football stadium in Limbe on January 18, 2021 in the Anglophone zone of Cameroon.

Photo credit: File | AFP

Gunmen have shot and killed a prominent opposition Member of Parliament in the restive English-speaking North West of Cameroon where armed separatists have been battling government forces in their push to create a new state called Ambazonia, sources have confirmed.

Senator Barrister Henry Kemende of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) party was pulled out of his car and gunned down in the Mile Two neighbourhood in Bamenda Tuesday evening, Senator Fon Chafah Isaac, another lawmaker from the region told Nation.Africa.

No reason was given for the heinous act and no group had claimed responsibility at the time of this report.

The anglophone regions of Cameroon have been rocked by a bloody armed conflict with separatist fighters demanding the secession of the minority English speakers from the majority French-speaking country.

Forced out of their homes

Barrister Kemende’s killing adds to over 3,500 people killed in the conflict since 2017, according to statistics by humanitarian organisations.

Nearly a million other people have been forced out of their homes as a result of the deadly conflict.

The armed separatists have threatened to disrupt the 33rd edition of the continental soccer tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicked off in the country on Sunday.

The four-week tournament is being hosted in six Cameroonian cities, including in the coastal English-speaking town of Limbe in the South West region, which like the sister North West region is also volatile.

Group F teams - Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia – are staging their group fixtures at the 20,000-capacity Limbe Omnisport Stadium- with their training site in the South West regional capital, Buea, which has been a hotspot of separatist attacks.

Authorities have, however, said, “the situation is under control.”

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