Gunman kills seven villagers in northeast Cameroon

The military has blamed the recent spate of kidnappings on criminal groups from the Central African Republic and Chad, as well as from northern Cameroon. ALEXIS HUGUET - AFP

A gunman on a rampage killed seven people and seriously wounded two others across four villages in northeastern Cameroon, a local administrator and state television said on Thursday.

This “lone gunman, carrying an AK47-type weapon and four magazines loaded on both sides of his belt, opened fire on the innocent populations” of four villages, according to a statement released by Yves Bertrand Awounfac Alienou, the prefect of Vina department in the northeastern region of Adamawa.

The attacks occurred on Monday and left “seven people dead and two seriously injured”, according to Awounfac Alienou – a toll confirmed by state television station Cameroon Radio-Television (CRTV).

CRTV also said four of the victims died on the spot and three were taken to hospital with injuries, while the shooter is “nowhere to be found”.

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No information about the gunman’s motives has been released.

Awounfac Alienou said security forces are on the hunt for the gunman, but also called on the population to “mobilise massively…in self-defence groups to hunt him down”.

In the past, Adamawa – bordering the Central African Republic and Chad – has been the site of regular hostage-taking and ransom demands.

The military has blamed these kidnappings, which are on the decline, on criminal groups from the two countries, as well as from northern Cameroon.

An operation to combat kidnappings was launched more than two years ago and 46 hostages were released between 2018 and 2020, according to an assessment by the Rapid Intervention Battalion, an elite army unit deployed in the region.

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