– Purpose of operation is to protect, secure population of Bamenda city and its surroundings, security chiefs say
Cameroon has launched a new security operation in Bamenda, a city in North West, one of the two Anglophone separatist regions marred by violence since 2016, according to security sources.
“Defence and Security Forces (DSF) have initiated a special operation to secure the city of Bamenda and its surroundings code-named “Bamenda Clean” from Tuesday September 8 2020,” security officials said in a joint statement late Tuesday.
The operation came after increased clashes between armed separatists and the military in Bamenda. Two police officers were ambushed in the Small Mankon area last week.
The Central African country has been marred by protests and violence since 2016, with residents in English-speaking regions saying they have been marginalized for decades by the central government and the French-speaking majority.
“This is in response to frequent attacks perpetrated by terrorists and criminals such as kidnappings, robbery of banks and stores, looting, wanton killings of civilians and personnel of the Defence and Security Forces,” the statement said.
The statement urged the population to collaborate with the defense and security forces throughout the operation.
Earlier, the mayor of Bamenda had prohibited the circulation of taxi-motorbikes within the urban perimeter of city.
At least 15 workers from a local company were kidnapped last week by alleged armed Anglophone separatists in a town in the South West region.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the military said it had killed one of the armed group’s “pseudo generals” and recovered ammunition.
In June, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said for a second year running Cameroon topped the list as the most neglected crisis on the planet in 2019.
“Three separate emergencies faced the African nation: an exacerbation of Boko Haram attacks in the north, a violent conflict in the English-speaking west, and a Central African refugee crisis. Ineffective conflict resolution, global news silence and a massive aid funding shortfall all contributed to the country topping this year’s list,” it said.
Violence in the Anglophone regions over the last four years has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives and displaced over 730,000 civilians, according to the Human Rights Watch.