Cameroonian authorities said on Friday that separatists attacked a village on the Nigerian border earlier in the week, with local officials saying they burned at least 12 houses and killed six people. Authorities say the rebels appeared to be targeting members of the Mbororo ethnic group, whom separatists accuse of collaborating with government troops.
The Cameroonian military said separatists fired indiscriminately into the air and burned houses in Mbonhong, a village in western Ndu district on the border with Nigeria. The army did not say how many houses were burned or how many people were killed or injured.
The separatists shared videos of the attack on Mbonhong village on social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook.
About 15 separatists in the videos say they are taking revenge for abuses committed against them by the Cameroonian military and accuse government forces of using ethnic Mbororo and Fulani homes, farms and cattle ranches as military bases. The fighters are seen burning down about eight houses.
Capo Daniel, deputy chief of defense for the Ambazonia Defense Forces, a separatist group, said fighters from Ndu district, where Mbonhong village is located, staged the attack.
“The operation [attack] which took place in Ndu, targeted the house of Mbororo who was using his compound as a point where the Cameroonian army is planning attacks,” Danielo said. “As the Cameroonian army has failed to reach our camps in remote areas, they have increasingly turned to the Mbororo who work hand in hand with the Cameroonian army.”
Daniel said the Ambazonia Defense Forces consider Mbororo who collaborate with Cameroonian government troops fighting separatists as traitors and people who support separatist fighters as friends.
Nkwenti Simon Dooh, the top government official in Donga Mantung, the division where Ndu is located, told Cameroonian state broadcaster CRTV that barely a week goes by without separatists attacking Mbororo.
“Armed groups are taking advantage of the fact that the Mbororo populations are scattered over the hills to cause so many atrocities,” he said. “They [separatists] carried away many herds of their [Mbororo] cattle, looted, killed and burned most of their structures. »
Dooh said that in addition to deploying the army to protect the Mbororo, the government has asked the ethnic group to create militias to collaborate with government troops in the protection of property and people.
Cameroon’s National Institute of Statistics estimates that there are more than one million Mbororo in the central African country. Over 70% of the Mbororo are cattle herders owning about 70% of the estimated 3 million head of cattle in the Anglophone regions.
Mohammed Umaru Abubakar, Mbororo rights activist and member of the Human Rights Committee of the Mbororo Cultural and Development Association,
said the Mbororo are victims of brutality because the ethnic group has refused to support separatists who are fighting to create an independent English-speaking state in predominantly French-speaking Cameroon.
Abubakar said the Mbororo are one of the ethnic groups that have suffered the most from separatist brutality over the past four years.
“Three thousand eight hundred and forty-two cattle were killed or seized or killed by the separatists, and more than 5,000 cows left the North West for other [safer] regions, while others [cattle] left for Nigeria,” Abubakar said. “More than 195 million [have] were taken from the Mbororo in the name of a ransom. To date, the statistics we have are around 325 Mbororo people who [have been] assassinated by the separatists.”
Abubakar said Cameroon should compensate the Mbororo who lost their livestock and protect members of the ethnic groups from separatist attacks, looting and killings.
The separatists say they do not specifically target the Mbororo, but they target all individuals and groups who collaborate with the Cameroonian army. The United Nations says Cameroon’s separatist crisis that escalated into armed conflict in 2017 has killed at least 3,300 people and displaced some 750,000 people inside the country.