Rebels kill five gendarmes in Cameroon

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 Rebels kill five gendarmes in Cameroon

FILE- A soldier from the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), provides security at a ceremony ...   -  

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Cameroon

Rebels have killed five gendarmes in Cameroon near a region where a deadly conflict has pocked separatists from the country's anglophone minority against the security forces, local sources said on Wednesday.

"The separatists killed five gendarmes," Adamou Youmou Koupit, a member of parliament for the constituency and a member of the opposition Union Démocratique du Cameroun (UDC) party, told AFP.

"The toll is five dead, all gendarmes, and three injured. We are in the process of combing the area," a senior local government official confirmed to AFP, requesting anonymity, also accusing Anglophone separatists.

The northwest and southwest regions have been the scene of a deadly five-year war between armed groups demanding independence in this area of a state they call "Ambazonia" and security forces massively deployed by the power of President Paul Biya, 89, who has ruled Cameroon with an iron fist for nearly 40 years.

Separatist rebels, as well as the military and police, are regularly accused by the UN and international NGOs of crimes against civilians. The conflict has killed more than 6,000 people, mostly civilians, since late 2016 and forced more than a million people to move, according to the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG).

On Tuesday, the defence ministry announced that soldiers had killed nine civilians, including a baby, in the northwest region in early June, with the army acknowledging a "disproportionate response" by its men.

The rebels, as well as the military and police, are regularly accused by the UN and international NGOs of abuses and crimes against civilians in the Anglophone regions.

The Anglophone conflict broke out in October 2016 after peaceful demonstrations by part of the Anglophone minority, who felt marginalised and demanded more autonomy or independence, were violently repressed by the forces of order.

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