Eight shot dead in Cameroon’s independence protest

Eight shot dead in Cameroon’s independence protest

Soldiers in Cameroon have shot dead at least eight people during independence protests in the English-speaking parts of the country.

Rallies were held on the 56th anniversary of the incorporation of the regions into Cameroon.

The Mayor of the town of Kumbo, Donatus Njong Fonyuy, said that five of the dead were prisoners shot after a jail caught fire.

“We don’t know what caused the fire in the prison … But five prisoners were killed by soldiers. Two were wounded by bullets and are at the hospital,” he told Reuters.

Cameroon is split between English and French-speaking regions after colonisation by Britain and France following World War One.

The country was unified in 1961 – but English-speakers accuse the francophone majority of discrimination.

The demonstrations – timed to take place on the anniversary of Anglophone Cameroon’s independence from Britain – came as a months-old movement against perceived marginalisation by the Francophone-dominated government gathered pace.

The protests, which began late last year, have become a lightning rod for opposition to President Paul Biya’s 35-year rule.

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