Cameroon’s military on Thursday said it deployed about a hundred troops to the French-speaking village of Njitapon, after 35 anglophone separatists attacked the outpost.

The military said the fighters hit the post on Tuesday night with rifles, bombs, and rocket launchers, destroying it and killing five troops and wounding six.

They also abducted 12 villagers and stole weapons, said a military spokesman who would not allow journalists invited to the site of the attack Wednesday to record his comments.

Cameroonian officials say the rebels had crossed Lake Mbissa in stolen boats from Bambalang, an English-speaking northwestern town.

The governor of the region, Awah Fonka, told reporters on the scene that scores of fishermen and villagers had fled the village, which appeared empty.

“It is unacceptable that people [separatists] come in and commit these types of atrocities without the villagers collaborating with the forces{military} to put an end to it. We are asking them to sit up and understand that vigilant committees{militias} be reactivated, and they [militias] should work in close collaboration with the forces of law and order [military] so that we can put an end to these atrocities and loss of lives in our region.”

Cameroon’s military did not allow journalists into the village to speak with locals, warning that rebels could have planted explosives or be hiding to attack.

Separatists claimed responsibility in a video shared on social media that was confirmed by Cameroon’s military.

In the video, about 30 fighters threaten more attacks on French-speaking villages and towns in coming days. A man identifying himself as “Field Marshal No Pity” says he thanks God that no rebel fighter was killed during the Njitapon attack and claims none of their fighters were wounded.

Capo Daniel is the self-declared deputy defense chief of the Ambazonia Defense Forces, one of the rebel groups.

He claims Cameroon’s military was planning to attack the separatists through Njitapon.

“The Ambazonia forces [separatists] are targeting neighboring [French speaking] villages as preemptive actions against the Cameroon military. We will not sit by and wait for Cameroon [military] to come into our territory and butcher our people. We will strike them wherever their military bases may be.”

Cameroon’s military denied it was planning any attack from the village.

The government says rebels have launched at least 40 deadly incursions from the West region since the conflict broke out in 2017.

The anglophone separatists claim to be protecting Cameroon’s English-speaking minority from French-speaking domination.

The U.N. says the conflict has cost more than 3,300 lives in Cameroon and displaced more than 750,000 people.

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