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Gov’t remilitarise NW, SW Regions to combat separatists

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Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions have been teeming with heavily armed military officers, deployed by the government to pre-empt further attacks from separatists, official sources said on Monday.

In recent weeks, unidentified assailants presumed to be separatists, have launch series attacks on public buildings, while kidnapping military and government officials.  Namata Diteng, Batibo Divisional Officer was kidnapped a fortnight ago while Animbom Aaron Akiabom, Regional Delegate for Social Affairs for the Northwest Region, was over the weekend kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Batibo, authorities have confirmed.

According to Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo, the troops deployed to the regions, will ensure security, public order and the respect of state institutions. At least 30 soldiers have been killed since armed attacks began in November. Some residents in the two regions have hailed government’s plan to ensure security while others blame security officers for escalating the already worsening crisis.

Cameroon President Paul Biya had declared war on the separatists last November. The unrest began when English-speaking teachers and lawyers in the Northwest and Southwest regions, frustrated with having to work in French, took to the streets calling for reforms and greater autonomy. It degenerated with separatists, calling for independence.

Most Anglophone demonstrators have demanded a federal state, while some secessionists have called for an independent state they have dubbed “Ambazonia”.

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