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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

Deteriorated Situation

Separatists stepped up violent attacks in Anglophone regions, leaving dozens of soldiers killed; meanwhile, Far North region benefited from respite after death of Boko Haram leader. In North West region, Anglophone separatist 3 June launched IED attacks on military vehicles in Nkum and Kumbo towns in Bui division; 17 June attacked govt position in Guzang town, reportedly killing four soldiers; 19 June killed four state forces in Ngoketunjia division; 22 June launched IED attack on military vehicle in Balikumbat town, killing two. Meanwhile, armed forces 5 June killed seven civilians, apparently suspected of being separatists in Balikumbat town; 8 June allegedly killed two separatists and four civilians in North West capital Bamenda, and arrested separatist Gen Cobra in Mbatu village; 11 June killed woman allegedly linked with separatists in Nwa town. Military 15 June said 32-day military operation in Bui and Donga Mantung divisions killed three separatist leaders and several fighters. In South West region, after 5 June attack at Mabonji Gendarmerie Brigade, Meme Division which killed unconfirmed number of govt forces, separatists 13-19 June killed over a dozen military in series of attacks. Notably, separatists 14 June ambushed military vehicle in Eyumojock, killing at least four soldiers, same day attacked police station in Muea, Buea, injuring two policemen. In Ndian division, separatists 15 June abducted six civil servants; 18 June killed one. Separatists 18 June killed two state forces in Nguti town; 19 June killed one soldier during clash in Fako division. Separatists 26 June attacked govt building in Kumba city; 27 June launched IED against military convoy in Lebialem division; casualties unknown. In effort to support resolution of Anglophone crisis, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 7 June announced visa restrictions on individuals “responsible for undermining its peaceful resolution”. In Far North, amid lull in attacks, Boko Haram (BH) 15 June confirmed death of BH faction (JAS) leader Abubakar Shekau during May clash with rival Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP); new leader Bakura Modu “Sahalaba” called on loyalists to resist, signalling further clashes with ISWAP likely.
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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

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Analyst, Cameroon

Latest Updates

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.

Impact Note / Africa

A Household Name in Cameroon

Crisis Group’s work in Cameroon put underreported risks in this country on the policymaking radar years before the outbreaks of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North and a separatist revolt in Anglophone regions.

Also available in Français

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Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
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