On Tuesday morning, gunmen shot at the car driven by American missionary Charles Wesco, fatally injuring him. He died shortly afterwards in a nearby hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières.

We have been covering the deteriorating security situation in Cameroon for some time. Anglophone separatists started protesting against perceived marginalisation in 2016, and this has escalated in to a fatal cycle of violence and oppression. Abduction, arson, and deadly violence have been used by both sides. 

Wesco was a Baptist missionary from Indiana, and he and his wife, Stephanie, and their eight children had been in Cameroon for under two weeks. It is believed he was driving to the shops in Bamenda with his wife, their child and another missionary at the time of the shooting. The New York Times reports that his wife and their children are still in Bamenda.

His sister-in-law, Joy Williams, said he was shot several times in the head, but that it was unclear whether the gunman was a member of the military or one of the rebel groups in the area.

The Washington Post reports that Cameroonian Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo ‘released a statement saying “a group of terrorists” shot at Wesco’s vehicle around 8.7 miles from Bamenda, striking him in the temple. Security forces tracked the group, the statement said, then engaged in crossfire with them, killing four.’ Another official said it was possible that Wesco was killed in the crossfire between the military and local groups.

Williams also said that the family had planned to travel to Cameroon earlier in the summer, but had delayed their trip due to security concerns.

Sources and coverage

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