Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Boko Haram (BH) continued to intensify attacks in Far North against civilians and military. BH likely responsible for nine suicide bombings during month close to Nigerian border, notably two women detonated explosives 12 July in Waza, Logone et Chari department killing seventeen civilians. BH militants 5 July kidnapped several people in Karena, Logone et Chari department, 18 July killed civilian in Zeneme, Mayo Tsanaga department, 26 July killed two gendarmes in Sagme, Logone et Chari department. Amnesty International 20 July reported human rights violations including torture by security forces fighting BH. Gendarme killed four fellow gendarmes in Kousseri, Logone et Chari department capital 14 July to protest his alleged mistreatment by squadron commander. Anglophone minority in North West and South West regions kept up general strike in protest against marginalisation by govt. Trial of strike leaders postponed again 27 July, now scheduled for 31 Aug.
Regional armies in the Lake Chad basin deploy vigilantes to sharpen campaigns against Boko Haram insurgents. But using these militias creates risks as combatants turn to communal violence and organised crime. Over the long term they must be disbanded or regulated.
Cameroon’s military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency started late but has met with partial success. To consolidate gains and bring lasting peace to the Far North, the government must now shift to long-term socio-economic development, countering religious radicalism and reinforcing public services.
Religious intolerance is a growing but seriously underestimated risk in Cameroon, both between and inside the major faiths. To halt the spread of violent extremism in the country, Cameroon needs to bring all sects into a new social compact and within the bounds of a charter for religious tolerance.
Cameroon’s apparent stability belies the variety of internal and external pressures threatening the country’s future. Without social and political change, a weakened Cameroon could become another flashpoint in the region.
Cameroon, until now a point of stability in the region, faces potential instability in the run-up to the presidential elections scheduled for late 2011.
[Cameroon's] victory in the Africa Cup of Nations will have little impact in the long run. It neither addresses the structural grievances nor on the Anglophone resentment of marginalisation and appeal for federalism.
You cannot say yet that the [Multinational Joint Task Force tackling Boko Haram] is integrated like a NATO force. It’s just to coordinate; it is not yet a unified force. Each of the forces is based in their own territories.
In Cameroonian politics there is practically no culture of accountability.
The Boko Haram insurgency is weakening in the Lake Chad basin, but its underlying socio-economic drivers remain to be addressed. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017, we urge the EU and its member states to support regional governments with winding down vigilante groups, funding youth employment projects, rebuilding agriculture and trade, and restoring public services.
Originally published in Africa Research Institute
Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.
Originally published in The Mail and Guardian
Two years ago, the Cameroonian government declared war on Boko Haram. Despite some progress, the group’s violent impact is still seen and felt deeply in the remote north of the country.