“We need of the support of the population in these difficult moments,” he said. “They should come to us, inform us and strictly respect orders and advice we give to them so that this crisis which has overstayed should come to an end.”
In January, Cameroon said it deployed at least 1,000 additional troops to the English-speaking regions ahead of the Feb. 9 local council and parliamentary elections that separatist fighters had vowed to disrupt. Since then, there have been several attacks on suspected separatist strongholds.
The United Nations humanitarian office in Cameroon has called for immediate investigations into the latest attacks. Human Rights Watch has blamed both government troops and separatist fighters for gross human rights violations in the conflict.
The unrest broke out in English-speaking regions in 2016, when teachers and lawyers protested the dominance of the French language and French-speaking officials. Rebels took up arms a year later, demanding a separate English-speaking state.
Some civilians have fled the clashes, saying they don’t believe the government can protect them.