The killing this week of a prominent senator from Cameroon’s anglophone western region, while the country hosts the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, has put a spotlight on a conflict the government has tried to paper over.
It was gathered from France24, that Barrister Kemende Henry, Cameroon’s vocal member of Parliament, was shot and killed on Wednesday in Bamenda by unidentified persons.
While President Paul Biya hails the tournament as a symbol of unity, his government’s policies have exacerbated deadly divides.
On Wednesday night, hours before the coastal city of Limbé hosted its first match of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON, It was gathered that Senator Henry Kemende left his house in Bamenda, a city further inland in the troubled English-speaking region in the country’s west.
He never returned home.
Hours later, the opposition politician’s body was found in his native Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s war-torn Northwest Province, his chest riddled with bullets.
Kemende, a lawyer and lawmaker for the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party, one of Cameroon’s main opposition parties, was an outspoken human rights defender.
He was also a leading representative of the country’s marignalised anglophone minority, who constitute around 20 percent of the country’s 28 million population.
His killing came as international sports journalists were making their way to Limbé for Thursday’s match between Tunisia and Mali at the Omnisport stadium.
The AFCON has seen the usual displays of national pride accompanied by choruses of buzzing vuvuzelas.The tournament kicked off on Sunday with the hosts beating Burkina Faso, setting of a burst of rapturous joy among Cameroonian football fans, many emblazoned in the green, red and yellow colours of the national flag.