Eighteen people were injured on Saturday by three explosions at the start of a marathon in the English-speaking south-west of Cameroon, plagued by a bloody conflict between the army and separatist rebels, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told AFP. Sports and the local governor.
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These explosions took place at the launch of the 28th edition of the ascent of Mount Cameroon, also called “Race of Hope”, which took place in Buea, capital of the South-West region, 70 km to west of Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.
“Eighteen people were injured, including an athlete and 17 spectators,” Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, the Minister of Sports, told AFP.
“There were a few attempted disruptions with three explosions on the route. These explosions had no impact on the race,” said regional governor Bernard Okalia Bilai.
In a video broadcast on WhatsApp messaging, the attack was claimed by the Ambazonian Defense Forces (ADF), one of the main armed groups in English-speaking areas.
“Our forces launched an attack targeting the soldiers who were protecting the athletes participating in the Mount Cameroon race in Buea,” said Daniel Capo, the ADF spokesman.
The North-West and South-West are populated mainly by Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, some of whom feel ostracized by the French-speaking majority of this country ruled with an iron fist for nearly 40 years by President Paul Biya. , 90 years old.
These two regions have been the scene since the end of 2016 of a deadly conflict between armed separatist groups and the army and the police, the two camps being regularly accused by international NGOs and the UN of crimes against civilians.
The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced over a million people to move, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.
The US Embassy in Cameroon condemned the explosion on Twitter “as we condemn any act of violence”.
The soldiers went to the scene of the explosions and life returned to normal in Buea, noted an AFP journalist.
A total of 483 athletes from Cameroon and abroad participated in the “Race of Hope”, according to an official document consulted by AFP.
This competition of nearly 42 km consists of climbing Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in the country. This year’s edition was marked by the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of this competition launched in 1973.
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