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17 shot dead by soldiers in English speaking regions of Cameroon

Seventeen people were shot dead in English speaking parts of Cameroon after soldiers opened fire at demonstrators calling for independence. 

Rallies were held in October 1 to celebrate the anniversary of the re-unification of Francophone and Anglophone regions into Cameroon in 1961. 

In an attempt to quash planned independence demonstrations from Anglophone communities, the government deployed troops to the South-West and North-West regions. Internet and social media access has been blocked since Tuesday. 

The capital city of the Anglophone region, Bamenda has been described as in a state of "lockdown" with witnesses reporting a military crackdown with house to house searches. 

Over 200 people are believed to have been arrested and over 50 wounded. 

The UN Secretary General has condemned the violence and called for dialogue.  

The UK has also called for calm. The British minister for Africa, Rory Stewart said on Wednesday, “We urge all sides to create conditions to restore confidence, avoid provocative rhetoric and acts, and to ensure any action by security forces is proportionate, fully respecting human rights, and in the best interests of protecting people and property."

“We encourage the parties to reject violence, embrace dialogue and to urgently take action to implement solutions that address the root causes and grievances being raised,” he added. 

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