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AFCON 2021: Mali suspend training after gun battle breaks out near camp

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The Eagles were not able to complete their final training before the AFCON game against Tunisia.

Mali will face Tunisia in their first game of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The Eagles were planning to hold a final training session before the game on Wednesday afternoon. However, they had to stop the training due to an unexpected event.

According to the Cameroon News Agency, Mali postponed the training session after a gunfight broke out near their camp. Gunfire between separatists and government forces at the town of Buea led to the death of two people.

Conflict between English-speaking locals and French-speaking government officials has led to safety concerns for football teams. The separatist groups have objected to the government’s decision to host the AFCON, threatening to inflict violence.

A human rights activist who works in the area told the Mail : “There were gun shots this morning around the town.

“We also got information there was an improvised explosive device at the market. The [separatist] groups and security forces were fighting in the area.

“The non state groups want to create the impression that nothing should take place in the south west region [of Cameroon during the Afcon].”

The armed groups in the area want to form a breakaway state, declaring independence from Cameroon. Since 2016, over 3000 people have lost their lives, with a million more fleeing their homes to safer areas.