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Iran Press TV

Armed assailants kill 22 villagers, including 14 children, in Cameroon: UN

Iran Press TV

Monday, 17 February 2020 9:39 AM

Armed men have killed 22 villagers, including over a dozen children, in the anglophone region of Cameroon, the United Nations says.

James Nunan, a local official of humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, said on Sunday that the attackers had massacred the villagers in Ntumbo in the restive northwest region of the country on Friday.

"Up to 22 civilians were killed, including a pregnant woman and several children," said Nunan, adding that 14 children – including nine under age five – were among those killed.

Eleven of the children were girls, said Nunan, who is head of OCHA's office for the Northwest and Southwest regions, which are home to the West African country's English-speaking minority.

Opposition forces linked to the separatists in the region, who have been fighting the central government for three years, claimed the army was behind the massacre of the villagers.

The Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon – one of the country's two main opposition parties – issued a statement, saying "the dictatorial regime (and) the supreme head of the security and defense forces are chiefly responsible for these crimes."

A key figure in the separatist movement, lawyer Agbor Mballa, in a Facebook post also accused "state defense forces" of carrying out the killings.

An army official contacted by AFP early Sunday denied the allegations.

The government has allegedly failed to give enough autonomy to the English-speaking population in the separatist regions, according to the opposition forces.

The conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes.

Cameroon's English-speaking minority make up about 20 percent of the population of the French-speaking country.

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