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Cameroon

The Boko Haram insurgency is on the wane in the Lake Chad basin but continues to carry out attacks against civilian and military targets in Cameroon’s Far North. The war has killed 2,000 Cameroonians, displaced 170,000 and triggered the rise of vigilante self-defence groups. Meanwhile, Cameroon’s Anglophone region has experienced violent flare-ups as the central government represses dissent over the perceived marginalisation of the English-speaking minority. Crisis Group aims to reduce conflict risks in the Far North and to promote confidence-building measures and better governance to defuse the Anglophone crisis. Through field research led by our analyst and advocacy with the government as well as with national and international stakeholders, we work to increase the likelihood of peaceful presidential elections in October 2018.

CrisisWatch Cameroon

Unchanged Situation

National dialogue on conflict in Anglophone areas failed to stem violence, Boko Haram (BH) continued attacks in Far North and intercommunal violence flared in south. Anglophone separatists boycotted national dialogue on Anglophone crisis in capital Yaoundé 30 Sept-4 Oct; amid calls by some Anglophone activists for return to federal state structure, resulting “conclusions” recommended special status for Anglophone regions under current decentralisation process. President Biya 3 Oct ordered release of 333 Anglophones, but not separatist leaders. Violence continued in Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions: as Anglophones celebrated what they claim as their independence day 1 Oct, clashes between armed forces and separatists reportedly left at least nine dead. In Northwest, rival separatist groups clashed in Guzang 11 Oct leaving two dead. In regional capital Bamenda, suspected separatists 16-19 Oct killed two vigilantes and two security force members. In Southwest, separatists 14 Oct abducted four in Tiko. Army raid in Bombe Bakundu 18 Oct left seven dead. Army raids 22-26 Oct left at least six civilians and several separatists dead. In Far North, BH attacks 2-27 Oct left at least fourteen civilians and one soldier dead. In South region, killing of ethnic Bulu taxi driver 9 Oct by alleged ethnic Bamoun in Sangmelima triggered violence. Hundreds of ethnic Bulu, blaming other ethnic groups for insecurity, 9-10 Oct attacked shops owned by ethnic Bamouns and Bamilekes injuring about 100. In Garoua Boulaï in East region, security forces 24 Oct freed 22 people abducted by rebels from CAR and killed five abductors. Authorities 5 Oct released leader of opposition party Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC) Maurice Kamto (arrested in Jan) and some 100 party members. During visit to country 23-25 Oct French FM Le Drian announced France would contribute some $70mn for implementation of national dialogue’s recommendations and $50mn to fight against BH.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

21 Sep 2018
We are not yet in a civil war [in Cameroon], but all the ingredients for a potential civil war are already assembled. Financial Times

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
17 Feb 2018
The main issue for Ambazonian groups [in Cameroon] is that they really lack finance. If they had money to buy weapons, train and feed their people, they could raise an army. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
12 Feb 2018
With the troubles in [Cameroon's] Anglophone regions and the persistent threat from Boko Haram, the 2018 elections will be a greater challenge than previous votes. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
1 Feb 2018
[Cameroon's President Biya] should quickly initiate a political dialogue on federalism or decentralisation or it’s possible that the Anglophone side will be radicalised even further. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
30 Jan 2018
Cameroon is heading into elections against a volatile political and security backdrop. Palpable political tension, instability in the English-speaking regions and attacks by Boko Haram [persist]. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
27 Dec 2017
There’s a real risk of rebellion [in Cameroon] that could make the Anglophone regions ungovernable. [...] The Anglophone crisis calls the foundations of the Cameroonian state into question. Bloomberg

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa

Latest Updates

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
Q&A / Africa

Uncertainties Deepen in Cameroon after Divisive Election

Cameroon went to the polls on 7 October amid several crises, notably the conflict between the government and Anglophone separatists. Crisis Group’s expert Hans De Marie Heungoup, in Cameroon during the vote, says it has compounded the country’s problems but also offered reason for hope.

Also available in Français
Video / Africa

Video: Elections Fail to Solve Cameroon’s Deepening Crises

Richard Moncrieff, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director, says the crisis over Cameroon's 7 October election is the worst for 25 years, adding new risks in a country already on the brink of civil war due to the Anglophone crisis. Tensions may rise further once the election results are officially announced.

Briefing / Africa

Election présidentielle au Cameroun : les fractures se multiplient

Le risque de violences autour du scrutin du 7 octobre est élevé dans les régions anglophones mais existe aussi ailleurs. Le gouvernement devrait lutter contre la montée des antagonismes communautaires dans tout le pays et parvenir à un cessez-le-feu, au moins temporaire, avec les groupes armés anglophones.

Also available in English