Cameroon has sent military and senior civilian officials to ask residents not to flee from Ekondo Titi, an English-speaking western town where anglophone separatists this week killed seven people, including the most senior administrative official, the mayor and traditional ruler. The government says hundreds of civilians are fleeing to safer locations.
In a video, armed men identifying themselves as Ndian warriors brandish assault rifles and pledge total allegiance to what they say is their fight for the independence of Cameroon's English-speaking western regions.
In the video, widely circulated on social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp, they display two assault rifles, an undisclosed amount of money and Cameroonian military uniforms.
They say the rifles, money and uniforms belonged to Cameroonian military and government officials they killed Wednesday in Ekondo Titi -- a district in Ndian, an administrative unit in Cameroon's English-speaking South-West region.
The main speaker in the video claims to be field marshal of anglophone separatists. He says fighters are developing a new modus operandi in their battle to achieve independence for Cameroon's English-speaking western regions.
He says besides eliminating government troops, fighters have decided to target and kill all civilian workers representing Cameroon's central government in the English-speaking western regions. He says those posted by the central government in Yaoundé should resign or refuse to work in English-speaking towns and villages.
Cameroon’s military said the video is that of fighters who killed seven people and government troops in Ekondo Titi this week.
A government release read Friday on Cameroon state radio, CRTV, said Paul Timothee Aboloa, highest government official and representative of President Paul Biya in Ekondo Titi, was among the officials killed by fighters.
The release said Nanji Kenneth, mayor of Ekondo Titi, and Ebeku William, the Ekondo Titi president of Cameroon’s ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party, also died.
The Cameroon government Friday said hundreds of civilians, especially government workers, have escaped from Ekondo Titi since Wednesday’s separatist bomb attack.
Bernard Okallia Bilai is the governor of the South-West region, where Ekondo Titi is located. He said he was sent to Ekondo Titi on Friday to ask frightened residents to stop fleeing. Bilai spoke via a messaging app.
He said he is at the head of a delegation of top government and military officials, politicians and clerics sent to Ekondo Titi by Biya. He said the delegation is telling people of Ekondo Titi who are going through terrifying moments that Biya and government troops will crush separatists who do not surrender.
Bilai said civilians should be vigilant and report suspects and strange people in the towns and villages to government troops or administrative officials.
Officials reported in November that a separatist attack on a school in Ekondo Titi killed four students and a teacher. Hundreds of teachers and students stopped going to school.
Timothe Abolo, before he died in Wednesday's attack, said enough security measures had been taken to protect schools, teachers, students and government workers from further attack.