The gendarmes were killed on Monday in the latest incident which has seen disputes with the Francophone-dominated government.

Four Cameroonian gendarmes have been killed by militants seeking independence for Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, Reuters reports.

The gendarmes were killed on Monday in the latest incident which has seen disputes with the Francophone-dominated government - accused by the Anglophone minority of discriminating against it - degenerate into open warfare.

The deaths occurred in the town of Kembong in the south-west region’s Manyu division.

“The assailants, ensnared by the measures put in place by our defence and security forces, are now reduced to sporadic attacks carried out by hidden faces and using perfidy,” said government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

Situated along the Nigerian border, Manyu’s dense equatorial forests have become the centre of the insurgency from where the separatists have launched a series of attacks on security forces.

Following Monday’s deadly attack, the security forces engaged the separatists in a gunfight during which several of the separatists were also killed.

Peaceful protests last year, by English-speaking activists against what they see as their social and economic marginalisation, were met with repression, including the banning of protests and the death and arrests of activists under President Paul Biya’s government.

Biya, 84, has ruled the country for 34 years and is reported to be seeking a new term in office at the next elections.

However, the his crackdown has only served to bolster support for armed militants demanding secession from Yaounde, resulting in a spike in attacks on government security forces in recent weeks.

In the tit-for-tat cycle of violence, the authorities have in turn escalated their response, culminating in the deaths of dozens of civilians.

The ongoing unrest has also led to a mounting refugee crisis with at least 7,500 people crossing into Nigeria since the beginning of October when the secessionists declared an independent state called Ambazonia.

The UN refugee agency says it is bracing itself for a flood of up to 40,000 refugees into Nigeria.

- African News Agency (ANA)