There was renewed fighting early Monday in Cameroon’s English-speaking region of Southwest as armed separatists began imposing a 10-day lockdown to disrupt the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) which is underway in the Central African nation.
Residents of Buea, the chief town of the region said they heard multiple bursts of gunshots in several parts of the town as separatists and government forces clashed.
“The sound of the gunshots was thunderous and lasted for several hours. A vehicle was burned down,” Julius Mbah who lives in Buea told Xinhua on phone.
There were no reports of casualties.
Separatists claimed responsibility for the clashes on social media and said they were enforcing a 10-day lockdown which will run from Jan. 18 to Jan. 27 in a bid to disrupt CHAN activities in the region.
Group D matches including Zambia, Tanzania, Guinea, and Namibia are scheduled to begin on Tuesday in the seaside resort town of Limbe which is located in the troubled region. Some of the teams train and lodge in Buea.
Separatists had warned on social media that there will be consequences if matches take place in the crisis-prone area and asked residents “to stay indoors or face the consequences.”
Security has been significantly beefed up in the two towns of Limbe and Buea with routine armed military and police patrols day and night.
CHAN, a 16-nation African football championship for players based in their own domestic league started last Saturday and will end on Feb. 7. Enditem