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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

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Boko Haram (BH) intensified attacks in Far North, Anglophone separatists continued to clash with security forces in west and violence could escalate there around 20 May National Day, commemorating 1972 vote to transform federal state into unitary one. In Far North, BH attacks left ten soldiers and at least 24 civilians dead. BH fighters 6 April killed five soldiers near Fotokol, Logone and Chari department; four soldiers killed 12 April when they detonated bombs laid by BH on Gouzda-Vreket-Vouzi road, Mayo Tsanaga department, and same day one killed in same way on Kerawa road, Mayo Sava department. BH killed eleven civilians in Tchakamari, Mayo Sava 19 April; killed at least seven civilians in Blangoua, Longone and Chari department 22 April; one vigilante member in Malloumri, Mayo Sava 26 April; one civilian in Bourouvare, Mayo Sava 27 April; four civilians in Kofia, Logone and Chari 28 April. Security forces killed two BH in Sanda-Wandjiri 14 April. Conflict in Anglophone regions continued. Clashes between separatists and soldiers in Bali, Northwest region 15 April left three separatists and four soldiers dead. Appeals court of Centre region in capital Yaoundé 9 April rejected detained opposition leader Maurice Kamto’s demand for temporary release; police same day arrested seventeen members of Kamto’s party Cameroon Renaissance Movement who protested outside court building. European Parliament 18 April passed resolution calling on govt to immediately release Kamto and members of his party, start inclusive dialogue with Anglophone leaders and reform electoral system; it called on EU Commission to assess EU support to security forces and, in absence of progress, put Anglophone crisis on UN Security Council agenda. Govt rejected resolution as “biased, unfounded”.

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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

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
Statement / Africa

Cameroun : la conférence générale anglophone mérite un soutien national et international

La conférence générale anglophone peut constituer une étape décisive dans le règlement de la crise anglophone, en cours depuis plus d'un an. Les organisateurs, les différents acteurs anglophones, la société civile, et les partenaires internationaux du Cameroun doivent pousser le gouvernement et les chefs de file séparatistes à dépasser leurs réticences.  

Also available in English