Gunfire disrupts Cameroon prime minister’s go to to separatist area

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DOUALA, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Distant machine gun hearth interrupted a speech by Cameroonian Prime Minister Dion Ngute on Tuesday throughout a go to to the capital of the restive North West area that Anglophone separatists had vowed to disrupt.

A video on social media reveals Ngute trailing off mid-speech as the gang turns and exclaims at a burst of far-off pictures. In different footage, a suited man in a flak jacket places his arms protectively across the premier as they’re escorted away by safety forces.

It was not clear who was accountable, however the incident underscores the insecurity plaguing Cameroon’s two English-speaking areas since insurgents in search of to type a breakaway state first took up arms in opposition to the navy in 2017.

There was no fast remark from the prime minister’s workplace.

A supply on the workplace of North West’s governor mentioned the pictures have been fired within the mountains outdoors Bamenda, the regional capital, and the prime minister was unhurt

“The situation was brought under control,” the supply mentioned on situation of anonymity.

Before the pictures rang out, Ngute instructed a cheering crowd that he was there to assist resolve the disaster. “It is time that this suffering ends for us all. This is what brought me here,” he mentioned in pidgin English.

North West is one in all two areas the place English-speaking secessionists in search of to type a state referred to as Ambazonia have been battling authorities forces over perceived marginalisation by Cameroon’s French-speaking majority.

Both sides have dedicated atrocities in a battle that has killed over 3,000 and compelled lots of of hundreds to flee.

Ahead of Ngute’s go to to Bamenda, the so-called Ambazonian Defence Forces ordered residents to remain at house, saying that anybody collaborating in conferences with Ngute did so at their very own danger.

“There will be planned military operations to challenge the colonial prime minister’s visit,” they mentioned on Monday.

The separatists weren’t reachable for remark.

Last week, the U.N. humanitarian company (OCHA) mentioned it had been obliged to halt its actions attributable to a lockdown imposed in each areas by a non-state armed group banning all motion, work, or social exercise between Sept. 15 and Oct. 2.

There had been a notable enhance in violence, kidnappings and assaults in opposition to these defying the lockdown, together with lecturers and college students, it mentioned.

Reporting by Josiane Kouagheu, Bate Felix and Edward McAllister
Writing by Alessandra Prentice
Editing by Giles Elgood

Cameroon Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations in charge of cooperation with the Commonwealth, Joseph Dion Ngute speaks at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in Oslo, Norway February 24, 2017.  NTB Scanpix/Haakon Mosvold Larsen/via REUTERS/File Photo