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Cameroon army blames accident for village ‘massacre’


Yaoundé (AFP) – Cameroon’s army on Monday denied opposition charges that it had massacred villagers in a troubled anglophone region, blaming instead an “unfortunate accident” caused by an explosion of fuel during a firefight.

Up to 22 civilians, 14 of them children, died in the incident on Friday, according to the United Nations — deaths which opposition parties blamed on members of the armed forces.

But army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Guemo described the allegations as “duplicitous.”

An army investigation, he said, found that the deaths happened after fuel was set ablaze during a gunfight with anglophone separatists.

Five civilians — a woman and four children — died, and “seven terrorists” were “neutralised,” Atonfack told AFP in Libreville by phone.

The deaths occurred in the village of Ntumbo in Cameroon’s Northwest Region — one of two English-speaking regions that have been grappling with separatist violence since October 2017.

More than 3,000 people have died and at least 700,000 have fled their homes.

“It was quite simply an unfortunate accident, the collateral result of security operations in the region,” Atonfack said in a statement.

He said four soldiers and two gendarmes had been carrying out nighttime reconnaissance on foot near a home that had been “transformed into a fortress” with a stockpile of weapons.

They came under heavy fire, and exchanges caused “several containers of fuel to explode, followed by a blaze which spread several neighbouring homes,” Atonfack said

“This fire caused five casualties, a woman and four children, (a figure that is) far off from what is doing the rounds on social media,” he added.

– Gunmen –

On Sunday, James Nunan, a local official with UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, told AFP that “armed men” had carried out the killings.

“Up to 22 civilians were killed, including a pregnant woman and several children,” Nunan said, adding that 14 children — including nine under age five — were among the dead.

Eleven of the children were girls, said Nunan, head of OCHA’s office for the Northwest and Southwest regions.

Aid workers contacted by AFP said witnesses had told them that between 40 and 50 armed men — some wearing army uniform and some wearing masks — entered Ngarbuh, a district of the village, before shooting inhabitants dead and burning them.

“They fired on people and burned victims — their bodies are in a terrible state,” said an aid worker, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“People phoned us to say that soldiers had come and smashed down doors, opened fire on people and set homes on fire,” Ntumbo resident Louis Panlanjo, a member of a local assocation, told AFP.

“People took shelter in the centre of the village. There was about 800 of them.”

A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP in a phone interview that 35 bodies had been recovered and the army was to blame.

The Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), one of the country’s two main opposition parties, issued a statement condemning the attacks.

“The dictatorial regime (and) the supreme head of the security and defence forces are chiefly responsible for these crimes,” it said.

A key figure in the separatist movement, lawyer Felix Agbor Mballa, in a Facebook post also accused “state defence forces” of carrying out the killings.

The army had previously denied any involvement in the deaths.

On Monday, the much-delayed trial began in the capital of Yaounde of seven soldiers accused of the cold-blooded killing of two women and their babies in 2015.

The murders, which came to light through a video on the internet, were initially dismissed as “fake news” by the government, which later investigated the incident and arrested seven suspects.

– Restive region –

English-speakers account for nearly a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million, who are majority French-speaking.

Years of grievances at perceived discrimination snowballed into a declaration of independence in October 2017, to which the government responded with a crackdown.

The declaration of independence has not been recognised internationally, although the government has lately responded to the crisis by decentralising some of its powers.

Friday’s killings followed elections on February 9 that were marred by violence in the regions blamed both on separatists and security forces.

The UN refugee agency said Thursday that almost 8,000 people had fled into Nigeria from Cameroon in the previous two weeks to escape the fighting, bringing the number of refugees to almost 60,000.



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Houston Chief Blames NRA After Known Criminal Allegedly Kills Cop



Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is calling for more gun control and blaming the NRA after a known criminal allegedly shot and killed an officer Saturday.

ABC 13 reports that 25-year-old Arturo Solis allegedly shot and killed Houston Sgt. Christopher Brewster while Brewster was responding to a domestic call regarding Solis.

Solis allegedly admitted to shooting Brewster and indicated that he did so in hopes that he could avoid being arrested.

Solis’s previous criminal charges include “burglary of a vehicle” (January 2017), “evading arrest/detention” (March 2016), “harassment” (September 2016), “assault on a family member” (August 2015), and “criminal mischief” (November 2014). The charges were all due to crimes at different times, and each charge resulted in a conviction that included being sentenced to time in jail. 

Despite Solis’s criminal history, Police Chief Acevedo responded to the shooting of Brewster by calling for more gun control.

Acevedo said, “Choose sides. It is right and wrong and it is not that complicated.”

He added, “Start caring about cops, children and women and everyday gun violence.”

Acevedo suggested Texas lawmakers’ refusal to pass more gun control was a show a “cowardice” that somehow set the stage for the attack on Brewster. He said, “[Brewster’s] mom, his father, his sisters, his friends, and ultimately the community he laid down his life for will be putting him to rest before Christmas because of the cowardice of the political people we have in office.”

The police chief also called out the NRA for opposing gun control.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at [email protected] Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange





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RNLI blames trapped tourists and beach selfies as call-outs double over festive period in four years



Tourists hunting beach selfies on perilous stretches of coast have helped fuel an almost doubling in call-outs to the RNLI over the festive period, it has been claimed. 

The lifeboat charity revealed it is now 600% busier over the Christmas break compared to 40 years ago – with launches also up from 85 in 2014 to 155 in 2018.

Rescue crews have reported the rise appears to be linked to the increasing number of people visiting the coast for a break, who are unfamiliar with the dangers they can face. 

While a common source of call-outs in the 1980s was embattled fishing vessels, lifeboats are now more likely to be deployed to tourists trapped by the tide, the charity said. 

It is believed the rise of social media may have inspired visitors to seek out beauty spots to serve as the backdrop for a family Christmas picture they can post online. 

However, although a large expanse of sand can be alluring as the setting for a festive selfie, the changing tide can leave areas of the beach impassable within minutes. 

“We believe more and more people are staying in the country in the festive period; more and more people are going to the seaside and are not aware of the dangers of the sea,” a spokesman for the RNLI told the Telegraph.

“We had a lot of wind recently and people know that the wind is dangerous, but on a calm winter’s day people think it is nice and safe, they walk around the headland and, figures reveal, there are a lot of people who are not necessarily in the water but are on a cliff edge, walking, something like that.

“With camera phones these days, people go out and want a nice Christmas Day picture, they want a nice family selfie (but find themselves in trouble). 

He added: “Even if you go back five years, cameras with selfies have since come in and then you’ve got all your Instagram and things for your best pictures – everyone has different means and motives for visiting the coast.” 

The RNLI is expecting this Christmas to be just as hectic for its volunteer crews and has launched a fundraising drive to help preserve its future.

Phil Eaglen, a volunteer for the crew in Wells, said: “The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before.”





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