Armed men opened fire on customers at a bar yesterday, April 16, around 7:30 p.m. at Nacho Junction, a neighborhood in Bamenda, the regional capital of the Northwest. In a video clip shared by separatist leader Mark Bareta on his Twitter account, lifeless bodies can be seen lying on the side of a road, with a man counting up to nine bodies. The voice in the video indicated that some injured individuals have been transported to the hospital.
According to consistent testimonies, the attack was carried out by men dressed in Cameroonian military attire. As a result, separatists accuse the soldiers of being behind the attack. The accusations are rejected by Captain Cyrille Atonfack, the head of the Ministry of Defense's Communication Division. He refers to the incident as a "perfidious terrorist attack." According to him, the assailants "intended to act in military uniforms to conceal their heinous crimes or even to try to create confusion about the perpetrators." He condemns the attack and also mentions nine deaths and two injured individuals, promising that the defense and security forces will track down the perpetrators of the massacre.
Local sources report that three individuals were killed in another attack in a nearby neighborhood 24 hours earlier. The insecurity prevailing in the cities of the Northwest and Southwest regions is a result of the armed conflict between the regular army and separatist militias since 2017. The conflict started with demands from teachers and lawyers in October 2016, which were later addressed by the government.
According to the think tank International Crisis Group, the conflict has already claimed over 6,000 lives and displaced more than 800,000 people.