Separatists lockdown Cameroon’s restive regions

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Cameroon and Chad

Fighting erupted again early Saturday in parts of Cameroon’s war-torn English-speaking regions of Southwest and Northwest as armed separatists began imposing a three-day lockdown to disrupt National Youth Day activities.

Residents of Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region and the largest city in English-speaking Cameroon, said they heard bursts of gunfire in some parts of the city.

“The streets are deserted. People are afraid to go out. Almost all activities are not operational,” a resident of the city, who asked not to be named, told Xinhua by telephone. Officials in both regions have assured residents of “tight” security and urged “everyone, all the youth, to come out en masse to take part in National Youth Day activities.”

On Thursday, separatist leaders announced that they will impose a lockdown in the regions from Saturday to Monday as a measure to disrupt National Youth Day activities, which will be held in the central African country on Sunday.

Separatists said the event was “illegal” in the two Anglophone regions, where they have been clashing with government forces since 2017 in a bid to create an independent nation they call “Ambazonia.”

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