YAOUNDE | Today | At least five banana plantation workers were killed and several wounded on Friday in Cameroon’s Southwest region that is riven by separatist violence, a union leader said.
The unidentified assailants shot at a truck carrying employees of Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) – the country’s largest state-owned agro-industrial firm whose workers have previously been targeted by Anglophone armed separatists fighting for an independent state.
The ambush took place at around 5:30 p.m. local time near the town of Tiko after the labourers finished their work, said Gabriel Mbene Vefonge, president of the Cameroon Agricultural and Allied Workers Trade Union (CAAWOTU).
“They first shot the driver to immobilize the vehicle. They killed three other workers who were sitting in front before shooting sporadically,” Vefonge told Reuters by phone, confirming that five were killed in total.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. The CDC, police, and a separatist representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The survivors of the attack were being treated for bullet wounds at the CDC Cottage Hospital Tiko, a nurse there said, speaking on condition of anonymity and declining to give further details.
The separatist conflict, which was sparked by decades of real and perceived marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone community by the Francophone-dominated government, turned bloody in 2017 after modest protests were violently suppressed.
Since then, thousands have been killed in the central African state, and rebels and government troops have taken turns to commit grievous atrocities.
Last month, the government said it had not mandated any country to facilitate talks with the separatists to help end the conflict, despite Canada saying it had received a request to work on a peace process.