• World - Africa
  • Updated: February 25, 2023

Cameroon: Athletes Wounded After Explosion During Race Competition

Cameroon: Athletes Wounded After Explosion During Race Compe

One of the athletes narrates his ordeal to the news media.

Nineteen athletes are being treated for blast injuries after multiple small explosions rocked a running race in part of western Cameroon where English-speaking separatists are fighting government forces, a local doctor said.

There was no immediate response from authorities in Buea, in the South-West Region, where 529 athletes were competing in the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, a race up the highest mountain in West and Central Africa.

The Ambazonia Governing Council's armed wing, one of the separatist militia groups, claimed responsibility for the explosions.

“Our primary target was the Cameroon elite forces ... that were providing security for the athletes. We will not allow Cameroon to continue its occupation,” the group's spokesperson Capo Daniel said.

A video widely shared on social media that Reuters was unable to verify immediately showed spectators cheering on a runner before fleeing for cover when a small explosion went off in the distance.

Another video showed an explosion near a group of runners somewhere along the route.

“Nineteen athletes have been brought to our facility with injuries.

"We have operated on three of them. Their condition is stable and we haven't recorded any deaths,” Martin Mokake, the director of Buea Regional Hospital, said.

He went on to say that one of those being treated was a Gabonese citizen.

Athletes from East, Central, and Northern Africa, as well as France, competed in the race.

The separatist insurgency began in Cameroon's English-speaking North-West and South-West regions in 2016 when teachers and lawyers protested their perceived marginalization by the country's primarily French-speaking government.

A violent crackdown by security forces aided the movement's radicalization, and the ensuing conflict has killed over 3,000 people and displaced nearly 1 million.

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