YAOUNDE, Cameroon

Five soldiers and a civilian were killed Wednesday in an ambush by separatists in the English-speaking North West region of Cameroon, the mayor of Njikwa told Anadolu Agency.

“Our convoy fell into an ambush of English-speaking separatists while we were returning from Momo division after the installation of a sub-divisional officer in Njikwa,” Itambi Andrew said via phone.

“The vehicle which was at the head of the convoy hit an explosive device and the other vehicles were sprayed with bullets, fired by separatists hidden in the bushes,” said Itambi, who was still in shock.

Becky Jeme Iyabo, the divisional delegate of communication for Momo, was killed in the attack, according to the Cameroon News Agency.

The Central African country has been marred by protests and violence since 2016, with residents in English-speaking regions contending they have been marginalized for decades by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

They are calling for independence or a return to a federal state.

Violence in the Anglophone regions in the last three years has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives and caused the displacement of more than 730,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.

In June 2020, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said for a second year running, Cameroon topped the list as the most neglected crisis on the planet in 2019.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.