YAOUNDE, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cameroon military announced Wednesday it has confiscated over 800 illicit firearms from armed separatist forces in the Northwest, one of the two Cameroon's English speaking regions.
"These firearms are used by the terrorists to attack the security forces. We have seized about 837. We have also dismantled many fabrication sites. We have also reinforced security in our borders where ammunition is imported," commander of the Fifth Joint Military Region, Brigadier General Agha Robinson Ndong, told state media Cameroon Radio Television.
He said the proliferation of the illicit firearms in the region was a serious security threat.
Government statistics show that there has been an increase in the circulation of illicit firearms in the country since the beginning of the Anglophone conflict.
In April, the Cameroonian government banned the purchase and sale of firearms and ammunitions in six regions of the country following an increase of licit and illicit guns possessed by civilians from 340,000 in 2007 to 510,000 in 2017.
Armed separatist forces seeking to secede from the French-majority Cameroon to form a new nation called "Ambazonia" have been clashing with government forces in the Anglophone region since November last year. About 109 security forces have been killed according to the government.
An unknown number of separatist fighters have died in these clashes though some military officers estimate over 200 armed separatists have been killed.
The UN estimates that over 160,000 people have been displaced internally and at least 20,000 have escaped to Nigeria where they now live in refugee camps.