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Cameroon blames separatists for hospital fire

The Cameroon government accuses separatists of setting a hospital on fire and killing four people.

In a press release, the Minister of Communication and government spokesperson Rene Sadi stated, "the fire incident in Kumba District Hospital was committed by close to 20 secessionists rebels”.

Separatists have rejected this assertion, stating on social media that they are "not responsible for the fire incident in the hospital”. They hold the government responsible and further accuse them of trying to tarnish their “image internationally”. 

Kuma is located in the Southwest region, and is home to an anglophone minority which accounts for approximately a fifth of the nation’s population. Separatists are hoping to secede from the predominately francophone nation and establish a new nation called “Ambazonia." They allege to have long-standing grievances against the state and continue to face discrimination.

The attack occurred on February 11, the anniversary of the 1961 referendum. Under this referendum, the anglophone region of Cameroon was unified with the francophone region which had recently gained independence from France. Separatists announced their plans to disrupt this anniversary earlier this year. 

Violence between state troops and separatists in the region broke out in October 2017 with Kumba, a commercial hub for the anglophone region, being hit particularly hard. UN statistics show that around 437,000 people have been internally displaced and another 32,000 seeking asylum in neighbouring Nigeria. 

Read more here and here.