Separatists kill one of 6 civil servants kidnapped in Cameroon

Tuesday June 22 2021

More than 3,000 people have been killed and over 700,000 forced to flee their homes as a result of a bloody conflict in Cameroon. PHOTO | FILE


One of the six top civil servants abducted in Cameroon on June 15 has been killed.

In the June 15 incident, gunmen took divisional delegates in the ministries of Economy, Housing and Urban Development, Water and Energy Resources, State Property and Land Tenure, and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, and the divisional chief of taxes assigned to Ndian division.

Ndian Senior Divisional Officer (SDO), Mr Lawrence Forwang, confirmed the abduction, saying one of the victims was a woman.

On Friday, a separatist movement in Cameroon confirmed that separatists were behind the incident in the restive English speaking South West region of the country.

Chris Anu, secretary for communication and information technology of the self-declared interim government of the republic of Ambazonia, said the fighters were keeping the remaining five officials, following the killing of one earlier in the day.

“Yes, our Ambazonia Restoration Fighters in Ndian are now confirming that they have these delegates in custody,” Mr Anu told Voice of America radio.


Trespassing claim

Mr Anu noted that the top civil servants were not abducted but “were arrested because they are in Ambazonian territory and were trespassing on their land”.

He said that contrary to reports from the Yaoundé administration, the separatist group is not demanding any ransom.

Mr Anu, who lives in America but commands the fighters on the ground, said they will discuss the fate of the delegates.

However, in an audio message that was widely circulated on social media, the leader of the armed group behind the abduction said they were going to use the delegates “as an example”, but there were no details.

The government was yet to issue an official statement relating to the abduction that took place in Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute’s division of origin.

But the SDO said the civil servants were on an official mission to demarcate land for an electricity supply plant project in the area. 

Bloody conflict

The English-speaking North West and South West regions of Cameroon have remained volatile since a peaceful demonstration by teachers and lawyers, over perceived and real marginalisation, morphed into an armed conflict in 2017.

Armed separatists have been battling government troops since declaring the independence of a yet-to-be recognised country called Ambazonia -- made up of the two English-speaking regions.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and over 700,000 forced to flee their homes as a result of the bloody conflict.