Disturbing images taken after violence rocked the small town of Menka, in Cameroon’s restive north-west region, where separatists from the English-speaking minority are fighting for greater autonomy.
The identity of those killed was not immediately clear, with the army describing them as “terrorists” and villagers saying they were criminals.
Several of the so-called terrorists were neutralized after a confrontation with the army which had surrounded a hotel they had apparently transformed into their headquarters.
“The army landed here and surrounded the house,” explains one of the villagers. Across the street, there was this group of young people who said they were in the army, but they had no uniform. These are the young people who confronted them. I wondered what army it was without uniforms. Some had weapons, knives, machetes. When the BIR arrived, they started shooting. The military arrested some and put them in their vehicles. It was during the gunfire that my children and I got affected with the tear gas, but I was able to get them to safety.”
According to witness reports given to Africanews correspondent, this group of young men were known for tormenting the village by raping and kidnapping residents.
Spokesperson of Cameroon’s Ministry of Defence said the violence led to the arrest of several of the men while 27 others were killed.
Other sources however indicate, the death toll could be higher.