Over a dozen injured in blast in Cameroon
An explosion during an athletics event in Cameroon has left at least 19 people injured. A separatist militia seeking independence for the central African nation’s English-speaking regions said it was behind Saturday’s attack.
The incident took place during the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope in the town of Buea, in southwest Cameroon.
Local governor Bernard Okalia Bikai told the Associated Press that nine athletes and ten civilians, including a baby, sustained injuries and have been taken to the local hospital.
According to Reuters, citing unverified social media footage, there was not one, but a series of explosions along the race’s route.
The Ambazonia Defense Forces, one of the separatist groups fighting for the independence of English-speaking regions of the country, has claimed responsibility. It said the military were the primary target and regretted injuries to civilians.
The insurgency began in 2017 in Anglophone North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon and was preceded by protests by local teachers and lawyers, who decried what they viewed as marginalization of the English-speaking minority at the hands of the Francophone national government.
Cameroonian authorities, in turn, accuse the militias of perpetrating atrocities against civilians. According to UN estimates, the conflict has claimed more than 3,300 lives to date, with over 750,000 displaced.
The Mount Cameroon Race of Hope is held annually, with more than 500 athletes from 13 countries taking part this year.