At least 17 people were killed over the weekend in clashes linked to a symbolic declaration of independence by Cameroon’s anglophone minority, sources said on Monday.
Amnesty International said “at least” 17 people were killed by security forces in the country’s two English-speaking regions, a figure that concurred with a toll given by official sources, who added that two Nigerians were among the dead.
Separately, the governor of the Northwest Region, which with the Southwest Region comprises the chief anglophone area, said on state radio that 11 had died in his region.
An earlier tally compiled by AFP put the death toll at seven, who were shot dead by security forces.
English-speakers, who comprise about a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 22 million, say they suffer discrimination and inequality at the hands of the francophone majority — a resentment that led to a symbolic declaration of independence on Sunday.
President Paul Biya has opposed any secession or move to a federal state.
Cameroon was a German colony from 1884 until 1919, when it was split into British- and French-run entities at the end of World War I.
The anglophone-francophone rift of today dates back to 1961, when the British-administered Southern Cameroons united with Cameroon after it gained independence from France in 1960.