Washington, State Department has urged the government of Cameroon to view the tragic death of American citizen,Charles Wesco, as an opportunity to put an immediate stop to violence and to allow unhindered access for humanitarian aid workers and health care providers in the North West and South West regions.
Washington said its citizen was caught in crossfire and urged dialogue to end the African country’s conflict.
Charles Wesco, 44, was travelling with his wife, son and a driver in the restive English-speaking northwest region when militants attacked security forces and a university campus, Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo said.
In a press statement, Beti Assomo said the American came under fire in an ambush by “a group of armed terrorists” in the town of Bambui and died later in a hospital in the regional capital Bamenda, 14 kilometres (nine miles) away.
The minister said that security forces then pursued the militants, killing four of them, with several others wounded including a soldier and a student.
His comments came amid speculation by separatist supporters on social media in the English-speaking regions — the site of an uprising by armed secessionists — that the Cameroon army was behind the killing.
But in Washington, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino did not blame either side and said Cameroon had promised the United States a “full investigation” into Wesco’s death.
“We’ve been in touch with senior Cameroonian government security officials and we believe the victim was caught in the crossfire,” Palladino told reporters.
Palladino urged the two sides to start “an immediate and broad-based dialogue without preconditions” to bring peace and resolve grievances.
“Both separatist fighters and government security forces have used violence against innocent civilians,” Palladino said.