More than a dozen people were injured on Saturday during a series of explosions that went off at the start of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. An English-speaking separatist group claimed responsibility for the attack. The Race of Hope is an annual event held in Buea, a city in southwestern Cameroon, and it takes athletes up and down Mount Cameroon for 42K.
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There have been conflicting reports on who was injured at the race, with some statements listing only athletes and others noting that both athletes and spectators were wounded, but the total number of 19 people injured has been consistent. As Martin Mokake, the director of Buea Regional Hospital, told Reuters, they had to operate on three of the individuals brought to the hospital. “Their condition is stable and we haven’t recorded any deaths,” he said.
The Ambazonia Governing Council was quick to take responsibility for the bombings. A group spokesperson spoke to Reuters, saying, “Our primary target was the Cameroon elite forces … that were providing security for the athletes. We will not allow Cameroon to continue its occupation.” Cameroon has been the subject of a rebellion since 2017, when separatists stated they intended to break away from the mostly French-speaking country and form their own English-speaking state.
The bombs reportedly went off about 30 minutes into the race. At that point, much of the field of 530 runners was past the impacted area, and they were permitted to finish the run. Saturday’s running marked the 50th anniversary of the event.