Cameroonian soldiers kill six amid secessionist protests

Cameroonian soldiers killed six people and wounded six others on Sunday in the town of Kumbo during protests by activists calling for independence for English-speaking regions of the central African nation, the town’s mayor said.

Donatus Njong Fonyuy told Reuters that the dead included five prisoners who were shot after a fire broke out at the town’s jail. A demonstrator was later killed by the soldiers when he tried to hoist the flag of the Ambazonia separatist movement over the chief’s palace.

On Friday, the Cameroon authorities banned all public gatherings and travel in its English-speaking region for three days to prevent planned protests. The authorities ordered bus stations, eateries and shops to shut and movement was forbidden between divisions.

Anglophone Cameroonians accuse the Francophone government of President Paul Biya of discrimination.

The majority of Cameroon’s 22 million people are French-speaking, while about a fifth is English-speaking.

The legacy dates back to 1961, when a formerly British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.

The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in sharing out Cameroon’s oil wealth.