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Cameroon

Cameroon is beset with two violent conflicts but also faces rising ethno-political tensions on and offline. Its main conflict, between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority, has killed over 4,000 people and displaced 765,000 of whom 60,000 are refugees in Nigeria. According to the UN, three of the Anglophone regions’ four million people are affected by the humanitarian crisis while about 800,000 children are out of school. The country also faces a reinvigorated Boko Haram insurgency with renewed deadly attacks in the Lake Chad basin after a brief respite. The war with Boko Haram, centred in the Far North, has killed over 3,000 Cameroonians, displaced about 250,000 and triggered the rise of vigilante self-defence groups. Elsewhere, and particularly following the October 2018 presidential election, ethnic discourse is heightening political tensions on and offline. Through field research and advocacy with the government as well as with national and international stakeholders, Crisis Group works to de-escalate conflict and promote a peaceful resolution in the Anglophone regions and the Far North as well as to stop ethno-political tensions from sliding into violence.

CrisisWatch Cameroon

Unchanged Situation

Resolution Opportunity

Violence continued to run high in Anglophone areas; upcoming Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in January could escalate tensions or offer opportunity for ceasefire. Unrest persisted in Anglophone North West (NW) and South West (SW) regions prompting govt mid-month to reportedly order 100 to 150 new armoured vehicles from European manufacturer. Insurgent Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) 5 Dec attacked gendarme post in Alakuma junction and military post in Mbengwi road near Bamenda city (NW) leaving at least ten dead, including losses on both sides; soldiers next day allegedly dragged two wounded separatists from nearby hospital and executed them. ADF combatants 8 Dec attacked army convoy with IED, killing at least five soldiers in Mbengwi road. In apparent retaliation, soldiers later set fire to about 20 houses in town, allegedly burning alive six civilians and shooting dead five others. Separatist fighters 7 Dec kidnapped president of North West House of Chiefs in Bambalang village (NW) demanding release of relatives of separatist leader “General no Pity”. Presumed separatists 13 Dec also threw grenade at trade fair in Beau city (SW), raising concerns that they will seek to disrupt African Cup of Nations football tournament due to start 9 Jan, with games scheduled in Buea and Limbe cities (also SW). Patrice Motsepe, head of Africa Football Confederation, 21 Dec met with President Biya, said tournament would go ahead despite concerns. Anglophone militia 21 Dec attacked police checkpoint in Kumba city (SW), killing at least one policeman and wounding about five others. Meanwhile, in Bamenda, soldiers 22 Dec killed two children in their home; Bamenda residents 27 Dec found remains of four civilians the army had reportedly arrested on 10 Dec in Chomba village near Bamenda. Clashes continued in Far North between Arab Choa herders and local farmers over grazing rights and access to water, leaving 44 people dead and 112 villages burnt, including parts of Kousseri town 5-9 Dec. Jihadists 9 Dec killed two civilians in Kouyape village and 16 Dec ten more in Assigachia village and Mora town, Mayo-Sava division. Meanwhile authorities 14 Dec returned over 900 repentant jihadist insurgents to Nigeria from Mora town.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

3 Dec 2020
Cameroon cannot simply afford to allow the ethnic and political tensions it is facing to rise to levels where they could constitute inter-community violence. VOA

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Around 700,000 young people were excluded from the school system owing to the conflict. AFP

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Le gouvernement et la société civile anglophone ont mis beaucoup de pression sur les groupes séparatistes pour que leurs enfants retournent à l'école. Le Parisien

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Le boycott des écoles était une stratégie des séparatistes ces dernières années. 700.000 jeunes environ étaient en dehors du système scolaire à cause du conflit. Le Figaro

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
30 Apr 2020
Dans un contexte de violence accrue contre les populations et les séparatistes, le risque est que même une fois la paix revenue dans les régions anglophones, cela complique les relations entre les Mbororo et les autres groupes ethniques. RFI

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
9 Feb 2020
(The election) will further bias the character of state institutions toward the views of a single party and seems bound to reduce prospects for frank discussions about resolving the Anglophone conflict and other brewing crises. AP

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon

Latest Updates

Podcast / Africa

Cameroon's Forgotten Anglophone Conflict

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Arrey Elvis Ntui, Crisis Group’s Cameroon expert, about a deadly separatist insurgency pitting Anglophone militants against the Cameroonian government that is almost five years old but garners little international attention.

Q&A / Africa

Cameroon: Elections Raise Prospect of Further Ruling-party Dominance

With a boycotting opposition and low expected turnout in conflict-affected Anglophone regions, Cameroon’s ruling party should win big in forthcoming elections. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Arrey Ntui explains why that result means dialogue about the country’s crises will have to happen outside parliament.

Also available in Français
Video / Africa

Video - Cameroon's Anglophone Dialogue: A Work in Progress

President Paul Biya has proposed a national dialogue aimed at resolving the Cameroonian government’s conflict with Anglophone separatists. Arrey E. Ntui, Crisis Group Senior Analyst for Cameroon, explains the reality on the ground in Anglophone areas and offers recommendations on how the government can make efforts to resolve the crisis.

Statement / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Dialogue: A Work in Progress

President Paul Biya has proposed a national dialogue aimed at resolving the Cameroonian government’s conflict with Anglophone separatists. But the mooted dialogue will include neither separatists nor, it appears, other important English-speaking constituencies. Biya should allow greater Anglophone participation and neutral facilitation for the dialogue.

Also available in Français
Video / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How to Get to Talks?

In the last 20 months, the conflict in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon has left 1,850 dead, 530,000 internally displaced and tens of thousands of refugees. Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Central Africa Hans De Marie Heungoup talks about how Cameroonian and international actors can play to break the deadlock and encourage the two sides to make concessions.

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Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
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