By Edward McAllister DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations on Thursday called for an investigation after Reuters reported Cameroonian soldiers opened fire on fleeing civilians during a weekend raid, killing up to nine people. Three witnesses told Reuters that soldiers entered the southwestern region of Mautu village, at the heart of a separatist insurgency, raided houses and shot civilians as they ran for cover under nearby cocoa bushes. The Cameroonian army denies any wrongdoing. It said it was conducting a raid on separatist positions when it was attacked and had killed those it called “terrorists.” “Deeply concerned and saddened by the attack on Mautu … which took the lives of many civilians. I call for an investigation into this attack,” said the head of the UN office in Central Africa, François Louncény Fall, on Twitter. Britain also expressed concern. “There must be an urgent and impartial investigation, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice,” the British High Commission in Yaoundé said on Twitter. For four years, the army has clashed with English-speaking separatist fighters in the forests and cocoa farms of western Cameroon. More than 3,000 people have died in the violence, which has escalated since the beginning of this year. Witnesses said they saw nine people dead, including a child and an old woman. None of the dead was a separatist fighter, they said. The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it was treating four people from the village, all with gunshot wounds: a small child, two elderly patients and a young woman. International players have long been asking for peace. Abuses on both sides have made talks difficult. Sunday’s attack comes as three soldiers face trial for their alleged role in the murder of 21 civilians last year in a northwestern town.
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