AFCON Soccer Showpiece Marred By Conflict Flare-Ups In Cameroon

Action in Group F got underway in Limbé on January 12, 2021 under the shadow of possible separatist violence after the body of opposition senator Henry Kemende of the Social Democratic Front, was found in the north western city of Bamenda - one of the Anglophone provinces in Cameroon where conflict has raged between armed secessionists and government forces.

Kemende, who was shot dead at close range, was a lawyer who became a legislator for the Social Democratic Front, one of the main opposition parties in Cameroon.

Cameroon is currently hosting the AFCON, the continent's premier soccer tournament. Officials have prioritised security for the event and gave numerous assurances that security is a top concern in the run-up to, and during the tournament.

Armed gangs have been known to abduct, kill or maim civilians they believe are "collaborating" with the Cameroon government. The separatists in support of Ambazonia and the Cameroon government are alleged to have committed atrocities over the course of the conflict. Over 3,000 people have been killed and 700,000 displaced by the fighting.

There are also reports that the Mali team were forced to suspend training in the south-west region of Buea, after sporadic shooting between the military and separatists fighters. The team was training at the Molyko stadium in Buea.

InFocus

New research by Amnesty International has revealed the devastating scale of destruction caused by the ongoing conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions (file photo).

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