Cameroonian authorities have issued 15 international arrest warrants against leaders of an Anglophone separatist party, the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), Cameroon Online reports.
The president of the Anglophone consortium, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, is among those wanted.
This is the latest development as tensions continue to escalate in Cameroon, with Anglophone secessionists upping the ante in what they say is their struggle against President Paul Biya’s Francophone government, and the French-speaking majority, for equality.
On Wednesday, Cho Ayaba, a leading member of the Ambazonian Governing Council, a separatist body established to create an independent state called Ambazonia, said secessionist militants killed two gendarmes in two coordinated attacks in Bamenda, the capital of the predominantly English-speaking Northwest region, Reuters reported.
The deaths of the two gendarmes, who were reportedly ambushed by gunmen on motorbikes, was confirmed by Cameroonian security officials.
English-speaking Cameroonians say they suffer social and economic marginalisation and are forced to work in French.
The deaths marked the worst fighting between secessionist militants and government forces in the central African state following mostly peaceful protests during the course of last year.
However, the peaceful protests have solicited a harsh response by security forces, including the use of helicopter gunships to fire on civilians, resulting in dozens killed and hundreds arrested.
Last month opposition leader Aboubakar Siddiki was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a military court on charges that his lawyer and Amnesty International said were politically motivated.
The court convicted Siddiki, the president of northern Cameroon’s main opposition party, of hostility against the homeland as well as revolution and contempt of the president over accusations he plotted to destabilise the country.
The military crackdown on protesters has been accompanied by political dissidents being detained without trial while the media has been muzzled, including banning the opposition English-language TV channel.
French-speaking Cameroon gained its independence from France in 1960 and the linguistic divide has existed for ages underground, only resurfacing recently in response to government violence.
- African News Agency (ANA)