Après vingt mois d’affrontements, Yaoundé et les séparatistes campent sur leurs positions. Entre la sécession voulue par les séparatistes et la décentralisation en trompe-l’œil que propose le gouvernement, des solutions médianes doivent être explorées pour conférer plus d’autonomie aux régions.
Violence continued unabated in Anglophone South West and North West regions, while jihadists inflicted heavy toll on civilians in Far North. Amid persistent conflict between separatists and military in North West, unidentified assailants 7 Aug killed local aid worker in Batibo town. Separatists same day beheaded woman they accused of collaborating with military in regional capital Bamenda and 10 Aug killed member of vigilante group in Bamunka village. Security forces 13 Aug killed suspected separatist and unidentified individual in Kumbo area. In South West, suspected Anglophone separatists 11 Aug beheaded woman they accused of collaborating with military in Muyuka locality; amid wide circulation of beheading video on social media, NGO Human Rights Watch 14 Aug called on UN Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on separatists. In following days, soldiers reportedly retaliated by killing about seven individuals and arresting about 200 in Muyuka area. Unidentified gunmen 27 Aug reportedly abducted 15 in Ekok town. Authorities mid-Aug acknowledged about 130 former separatist combatants recently escaped from Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation centres in Bamenda and South West capital Buea due to poor living conditions and unmet promises. Anglophone detainee in pre-trial detention since 2017 died 5 Aug in capital Yaoundé, sparking outcry from human rights activists and separatist leaders, with NGO Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa same day calling on govt “not to subject inmates to any form of inhumane and degrading treatment”. In Far North, jihadist attacks inflicted heavy toll on civilians. Suspected Boko Haram (BH) combatants night of 1-2 Aug attacked Nguetchéwé IDP camp, Mayo-Tsanaga division, killing at least 17 and forcing 1,500 to flee. UN High Commissioner for Refugees 4 Aug warned of “significant increase in violent incidents” in Far North. BH attacks continued 5-23 Aug, reportedly killing at least nine civilians. Army 9-10 Aug repelled BH attacks on three IDP camps in Mayo-Sava division, killing one militant. After security forces 11 Aug left their position in Kordo village, also Mayo-Sava, following opening of new military base in nearby Grea village 6 Aug, up to 6,000 civilians fearing rise in insecurity fled Kordo in following days.
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.
Le gouvernement camerounais devrait chercher à encourager les redditions de membres camerounais de Boko Haram. Des travaux communautaires, des confessions publiques, des cérémonies symboliques et des formations professionnelles peuvent permettre la réinsertion de ceux qui ne constituent pas un danger. Le gouvernement doit aussi préparer la démobilisation de certains comités de vigilance.
The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is growing deadlier. The Catholic Church could mediate between Anglophone militants and the state, but clergy have espoused clashing views on key issues. The Church should heal its divides so as to be a neutral arbiter that can broker peace.
La lutte contre Boko Haram dans l’Extrême-Nord du Cameroun, la région la plus pauvre du pays, a exacerbé la situation économique déjà précaire et bousculé les rôles socioéconomiques. Le gouvernement et les partenaires internationaux devront mettre en œuvre des politiques de développement qui tiennent compte des stratégies d’adaptation et de résilience des populations aux nouvelles réalités économiques.
Against a backdrop of bomb blasts, sporadic violence and repressive state measures, Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis has entered a new and intensified phase. In order to prevent the outbreak of an armed uprising, Cameroon’s president must go beyond superficial measures by urgently implementing key reforms and pursuing inclusive, high-level dialogue mediated by the UN or African Union.
We are not yet in a civil war [in Cameroon], but all the ingredients for a potential civil war are already assembled.
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.
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.
[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.
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].
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.