Rebels executed about ten civilians the day before Sunday in northwestern Cameroon, where a bloody armed conflict between the army and separatists of the English-speaking minority has been raging since 2016, the Ministry of Defense in Yaounde announced yesterday Monday.

The events unfolded in a district of Bamenda, the capital of the North-West Administrative Region of Cameroon, one of its regions – along with the South-West – that is inhabited in the majority by members of the English-speaking minority, part of which complains of being ostracized by the French-speaking majority of the state which has been ruled with an iron fist for 40 years by President Paul Biya, 90 years old.

These areas have been turned since the end of 2016 into a theater of bloody war between separatist rebels on the one hand and the army and police on the other.

Both camps are frequently accused by international non-governmental human rights organizations and the UN of crimes against civilians.

On Sunday at 19:30 [τοπική ώρα· 21:30 ώρα Ελλάδας]near a wine cellar, “about ten separatists (…) in military uniforms, equipped with automatic weapons” gathered “citizens before opening continuous fire indiscriminately” against them, “fatally injuring” their targets and “customers sitting at tables”, explained Colonel Cyril Atonfak, Director of the Department of Communication and Information at the Ministry of Defense, in the press release he published.

The preliminary tally of the victims speaks of ten dead and two wounded.

An investigation is being carried out by “administrative and judicial authorities”, according to the Ministry of Defense, while an operation is underway to find the perpetrators.

On May 9, 26-year-old journalist Anie De Nso, who was the bureau chief covering the west and north-west of the country for The Advocate newspaper, was murdered while in a pub in the same city. His murder was attributed to separatists. He was the second journalist to be murdered in Cameroon this year.

A few days later, Capo Daniel, leader of the “Amazonians” – the separatists have dubbed the region they have declared independence as “Amazonia” – admitted in a video he uploaded to Facebook that the journalist was indeed killed by “Amazonian forces”, but added that his executioners hit the wrong target.

The war in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions has killed more than 6,000 people and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the latest estimate by the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has to update these data three years.