Outraged crowd of people killed a gendarme in Cameroon after he accidentally killed a young girl after firing warning shots at a driving car, the Cameroonian Defense Ministry said.
Officers stopped the car on Thursday at a checkpoint in Buea, the main city of the Anglophone-minority Southwest Region, where separatists have been fighting for a split from the predominantly French-speaking Central African nation.
The person at the wheel tried to drive away, prompting one of the officers to fire shots at the car, hitting the girl in the head, the ministry said. The child was about five years old, according to the ministry, while media said she was three.
“In a violent fury, the crowd pounced on the Gendarme who was the author of the shot, and lynched him to death,” the head of the ministry’s communication office said in a press statement.
The ministry called the slain officer’s reaction inappropriate and disproportionate to the driver’s “irreverent behavior.” It offered condolences to the bereaved family.
The killing triggered an outpour of rage in the community, which has felt marginalized by the Cameroonian majority. The Cameroon News Agency said protesters demanded justice for the little girl, whose mother reportedly refused to bribe the officers. Gunshots were heard across the city.