A prominent Cameroonian lawyer and member of the Senate opposition was shot dead in the city of Bamenda in the country’s northwest region, a government official said
Henri Kemende was shot and killed by suspected separatist fighters in the English-speaking city on Tuesday, said Jean-Michel Nincheu of Kemende’s Social Democratic Front party.
“The warrior shot him in the chest at close range,” he said, adding that Kemende was then taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Lawmakers and politicians have condemned the killing and accused separatists of fighting for an independent English-speaking nation in the French-speaking majority.
Violence erupted in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest in 2017, when teachers and lawyers protested alleged discrimination against the French-speaking majority. The military cracked down and separatist groups took up arms, claiming they were protecting civilians.
Kemende, who was elected as a Senator for the Social Democratic Front in 2018, has been accusing the government of not doing enough to address the crisis.
“We will miss the brave, patriotic and hard-working Cameroonians who have spent the past four years advocating for solutions to the crisis in the English-speaking West,” SDF spokesman Denis Nkemlemo said in a statement. said in the statement.
Richard Tamfu, a human rights lawyer and member of the Cameroonian Bar Association, described Kemende as an inspirational figure in Cameroon.
“We call on the government to launch an investigation immediately and bring his killers to justice,” Tamfu said.
Two more people were killed by separatists on Tuesday night and three other civilians, including two women, were kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination, the Cameroonian military said.
The separatists have not claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and killings, but the militants have been threatening to resign those they accuse of cooperating with the central government in Yaounde, Cameroon.