2021-10-15 09:47:56 Cameroon authorities urge calm after police kill girl, 5, in Buea | News

Cameroon authorities urge calm after police kill girl, 5, in Buea | News

In the Southwest region’s capital, Buea, an enraged crowd lynches a police officer who fatally shot a five-year-old girl.

Authorities in English-speaking western Cameroon have appealed for calm following the lynching of a five-year-old girl by a police officer in the troubled region.

The incident occurred on Thursday in Buea, the capital of the Southwest region, where anglophone separatists and government forces in the French-speaking-majority country have been at odds for four years.

“We urge the general public to remain calm. “This is a tragic and unfortunate incident,” Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai said on the state television channel CRTV.

“Be assured that those responsible will be held accountable.” “It’s a heinous crime,” he said.

According to Blaise Chamango, the head of a local campaign group called Human Is Right, a woman driving her children to school was stopped by police at a checkpoint.

“The driver disobeyed. “A gendarme opened fire, killing a schoolgirl,” she said.

“In response, the gendarme was lynched.” More than 500 people gathered and marched with the girl’s body to the governor’s office.”

The defence ministry confirmed the events, saying: “In an inappropriate reaction, unsuited to the circumstances, and clearly disproportionate to the irreverent behavior of the driver, one of the gendarmes… fired warning shots in order to immobilize the vehicle.”

“During the process, the little Caro Louise Ndialle, a young pupil aged about 5, who was on board the said vehicle, was fatally shot in the head,” the statement continued.

According to the ministry, an investigation into the girl’s death and the lynching of the police officer has been launched.

Later that day, hundreds of Buea residents took to the streets, some holding tree branches in a peace sign.

Others held up 500 franc CFA currency notes ($0.88), claiming that was the amount the girl’s parents refused to pay before the gendarme opened fire.

Several witnesses claimed that the incident was part of a pattern of heavily militarized security forces harassing residents.

“All they do is scare people. It’s a problem if you have an identity card. “It’s a problem if you don’t have an identity card,” said one protester, who declined to give her name for security reasons.

English speakers live in the Southwest and neighboring Northwest regions, accounting for roughly one-fifth of Cameroon’s 22 million people.

Discrimination as perceived

On October 1, 2017, separatists’ decades-long campaign to redress perceived discrimination at the hands of the francophone majority culminated in a declaration of independence.

Armed separatist attacks on security forces were met with a crackdown, sending the two regions into a spiral of violence that has killed over 3,500 people and forced 700,000 people to flee their homes.

Last month alone, 15 soldiers were killed in two separate attacks over the course of five days, and four suspected separatists were sentenced to death in connection with the 2020 killing of seven schoolchildren.

The presence of anglophone regions dates back to the colonial era.

Cameroon, a former German possession, was partitioned between Britain and France after World War I.

After Cameroon gained independence from France in 1961, a portion of British territory, the Southern Cameroons, joined the country.

Anglophones have long been irritated by perceived inequity, particularly in education and the legal system.

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Cameroon authorities urge calm after police kill girl, 5, in Buea | News