No less than eight people were killed by soldiers during protests in towns across the mainly English-speaking regions of Western Cameroon.
Protesters had defied a government ban on public gatherings and demanded independence from the rest of the largely Francophone nation.
Sunday’s demonstrations were timed to take place on the anniversary of Anglophone Cameroon’s independence from Britain.
The protests, which began late last year against perceived marginalization by the Francophone-dominated government, have become a lightning rod for opposition to President Paul Biya’s 35-year rule.
On his official Facebook account, Biya wrote, “Let me make this very clear: it is not forbidden to voice any concerns in the Republic. However, nothing great can be achieved by using verbal excesses, street violence, and defying authority”.
The government has banned all gatherings of more than four people; ordered bus stations, eateries and shops to shut and forbade movement between different parts of the English-speaking regions before the protests; including closing Cameroon’s border with Nigeria for the weekend.