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Africa Cup of Nations

Unverified reports of Buea shooting ahead of Afcon fixtures

16:25 WAT 12/01/2022
Tunisa bus arrives at Stade Limbe
Video footage appears to support local reports of clashes just over 20km from the site of Wednesday afternoon’s Nations Cup fixtures

Unverified footage has reached GOAL from a credible source which appears to depict Cameroonian forces engaging Ambazonia separatists in the disputed town of Buea in the country’s southwest region.

In the brief 25-second video, shooting can be heard while soldiers holding weapons appear to walk towards the source of the firing.

GOAL understand that several people caught in the crossfire have been transported to a local medical facility for surgery, while the Cameroon News Agency reported earlier on Wednesday that two military helicopters were flying over the town of Buea following the violence.

They also note that there were two deaths and five further injuries during the exchanges of fire.

It is unclear whether the danger has passed or if there is an ongoing threat to the afternoon’s fixtures, which are taking place in Limbe, just over 20kms from the site of the alleged shooting incident.

Earlier reports from the Cameroon News Agency that Mali had suspended their training ahead of their Nations Cup opener against Tunisia—in light of the shooting—were denied by Caf, with the West Africans and the Carthage Eagles both training on the Limbe turf ahead of their early-afternoon kickoff.

Cameroon have increased security presence in the disputed southwest region ahead of the tournament, with military vehicles and armed soldiers present at major junctions and roundabouts in the region.

The upscaled security comes in light of threats made by Anglophone separatist groups ahead of the tournament, while there was an arson attack—attributed to local terrorists—ahead of the African Nations Championship in Cameroon in early 2021.

Cameroon has been in a civil war since late 2017, with over 3,500 people killed in the violence in recent years.

An explosion in Limbe in November killed 13 people, while there are also threats from jihadists—specifically the Boko Haram group—in the region as well.

Caf refused to comment on the reports when questioned by GOAL, insisting it was the responsibility of the Cameroon government to comment on such subjects.

GOAL also asked members of The Gambia delegation—due to play in Limbe later on Wednesday—whether they were aware of the gunfight in nearby Buea, but they responded that they were unaware of the incident reported by the local media.