Four soldiers and a civilian were killed Wednesday when an official convoy was hit by makeshift explosives in a restive English-speaking region of Cameroon, the government said.
A government spokesman blamed “separatist terrorists” for the killings in the Northwest province, where Anglophone separatists are fighting for independence.
The official whose convoy was apparently targeted was unhurt, spokesman Rene Emmanuel Sadi said in a statement.
Three other people were wounded in the attack, which occurred just before 1:00 am local (0000 GMT) near the town of Mbengwi.
The convoy comprising the local prefect and other officials was on the way back from a ceremony when it was “ambushed by separatists armed with makeshift explosives”, Sadi said.
In Anglophone Cameroon, the army and separatist groups have been fighting each other for three years.
Civilians are frequently caught between the warring sides and are victims of crimes and abuses on both sides, according to international NGOs and the UN.
As well as attacks targeting police officers and soldiers, the armed separatists — nicknamed “Amba Boys” — are increasingly kidnapping civilians, especially students and teachers who they accuse of teaching French.
They have also murdered inhabitants who they suspect of “collaborating” with Yaounde.
More than 3,000 people have been killed and at least 700,000 have fled their homes since October 2017, when militants declared independence in two western regions of the country where English speakers are a majority.
The declaration has not been recognized internationally.