At least 28 separatist fighters have been killed in clashes with government forces in the restive Northwest Cameroon, official said.
The military spokesman, Col Didier Badjeck, said the 28 were killed in separate fights on Monday and Tuesday in the Donga Mantung division.
The Monday's and Tuesday's were the first bloody clashes since President Paul Biya called on the fighters to drop their arms or face the determination of the military.
President Biya spoke last Tuesday as he was sworn-in for a seventh seven-year mandate, following a controversial poll victory.
There were casualties
Col Badjeck did not say how many military men were killed in the clashes, but on the ground sources said there were casualties on both sides.
President Biya called on the separatists “to lay down their arms and get back on the right track” or be ready to face the determination of the military.
He warned that should the “war-mongers” jeopardising Cameroon’s national unity by preaching secession fail to lay down their arms; they would face not only the full rigour of the law, but also the determination of the country’s defence and security forces.
According to the Senior Analyst for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group (ICG), Mr Hans De Marie Heungoup, more than 100 people have been killed over the last four weeks in fights in the two English speaking regions.
The security forces
The recent wave of clashes between the separatists and government troops marked an escalation of the two-year long crisis that has gripped the two English speaking regions Cameroon.
The crisis started as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers in 2016, but snowballed into an internal armed conflict since last year when separatists joined and symbolically declared the independence of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.
At least 400 “ordinary people” and more than 175 members of the security forces have been killed, according to statistics by local and international groups that have been documenting abuses in the escalating violence, including Amnesty International.
More than 300,000 people have fled the violence, many of them now living from hand-to-mouth and exposed to varied dangers in the forests, and some across the border into Nigeria.