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Cameroon militants set cars on fire, shoot passengers in village attack

BUEA, Cameroon (Reuters) - Armed militants stopped cars, shot at passengers and set vehicles on fire during an attack on a village in Anglophone Cameroon's South West region on Thursday, residents and a Reuters reporter said.

Separatists in minority English-speaking parts of Cameroon have been fighting to carve out an independent state called Ambazonia since 2017. They carry out attacks, kidnappings and killings in the North West and South West regions.

Concerned-looking resident gathered around the blackened and bullet-ridden remains of a charred car in the village of Muea, in the South West region, on Thursday as two men pulled out a body wrapped in a blanket.

Sobbing relatives identified and took away two bodies, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene.

Residents said the attackers arrived early in the morning, on the week schools reopened after the summer break, and that several people were killed.

Insurgents began fighting the Cameroonian military in 2017 after civilian protests calling for greater representation for the Francophone country's English-speaking minority were violently repressed.

Schools are often targets of attacks and Cameroon's education system has been heavily disrupted as a result.

As in past years, separatists had ordered schools not to re-open and imposed a lockdown.

(Reporting by Blaise Eyong; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Sandra Maler)