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.
Boko Haram (BH) stepped up attacks in Far North and conflict between Anglophone separatists and military continued in west. In Far North, BH launched attacks on several villages and clashed with security forces leaving dozens dead. Notably, BH 22 Dec reportedly killed tens of civilians on islands in Lake Chad, including on Chadian side of border, including at least nineteen Cameroonians. In Anglophone North West region, suspected separatists 1 Dec abducted and killed aid worker in Donga Mantung – first humanitarian to die in conflict. Clashes between separatists and security forces 11-13 Dec left at least three soldiers and two civilians dead in Widikum. Separatists 9 and 12 Dec abducted at least 21 local officials belonging to opposition party Social Democratic Front (SDF) and running for re-election in Feb polls; after receiving ransom, separatists 18 Dec released all 21 SDF hostages. Separatists and ethnic Fulani mid-Dec reportedly clashed in Bua Bua and Kimbi, death toll unknown. Military raid 28 Dec left seven civilians dead in Donga Matung. In Anglophone South West region, clashes between suspected separatists and security forces 11-16 Dec left soldier and at least one civilian dead in Muyuka and Mamfe. Separatists night of 16-17 Dec set fire to home of local SDF official in Kumbo. Twenty separatists 17 Dec surrendered in Kumba. Suspected separatists 19 Dec opened fire on bus killing three civilians in Ekona. Clashes between security forces and separatists left at least three civilians dead in Meme. Pirates 31 Dec kidnapped eight sailors from Greek tanker off Limbe. In North region, security forces 5 Dec killed six men accused of abductions. Parliament 10 Dec passed revised language bill after lawyers and Anglophone MPs protested clause that judges could use English or French when administering justice in Anglophone areas. Parliament 19 Dec passed decentralisation bill that includes granting Anglophone regions special status allowing them to have some say in their own education and justice policies.
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.
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.