A paramount chief was shot dead on Sunday by unidentified gunmen in Cameroon's restive South-West region, according to multiple local news sources.

Itoh Esoh, ruler of the Balondo people, in the Ndian division, was attacked as he left church, news site Journal du Cameroun reports.

The news outlet says the killing has created a tense atmosphere in Ekondi Titi commune which has been experiencing "indiscriminate shootings".

Two weeks ago, seven traditional rulers from the surrounding area were released after one of them died in captivity, provoking anger and outrage.

The government blamed separatists group Ambazonia, but the group has not commented.

No group has claimed the killings of chief Itoh Esoh nor have there been any suspects identified or arrested.

Separatists in Cameroon's two mainly English-speaking areas - the North-West and South-West regions - have been demanding independence.

They say the Francophone majority discriminate against them.

Protests launched in 2016, to push for the integration of English in schools and courts, have morphed into an armed rebellion in the Anglophone region and clashes have resulted in people fleeing the region.

Human rights groups have also reported indiscriminate killings and abuses on both sides.