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.
In Anglophone regions, military launched raids on communities suspected of hosting separatists, which left more than 50 civilians dead; ruling party overwhelmingly won 9 Feb legislative and local elections marred by low turnout and fraud allegations, while Boko Haram (BH) attacks persisted in Far North. Ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) 9 Feb won 316 out of 360 municipal councils and 139 out of 167 declared seats in National Assembly; Constitutional Council 28 Feb ordered legislative elections rerun in eleven constituencies in Anglophone regions (west) as opposition accused CPDM of stuffing ballots. Thousands fled Anglophone regions as separatists imposed lockdown 7-12 Feb (restriction on movement, closure of schools and businesses) to prevent voting, fired warning shots and clashed with soldiers. In North West region, clashes between soldiers and separatists 3-5 Feb left five dead in Bamali village and in regional capital Bamenda. Soldiers backed by ethnic Fulani militia 14 Feb reportedly killed 23 civilians in Ngarbuh village; govt said “unfortunate accident” was caused by explosion during clashes with separatists while UN, EU and U.S. called for independent investigation. Security forces reportedly killed at least six civilians in Kuk village, Babessi town and Bamenda city 17-19 Feb, twenty civilians in Fungom village 20 Feb, and several people including seven suspected separatists in Babanki village 29 Feb. In South West, separatists 3 Feb opened fire on vehicle killing one civilian in Ekombe village, 20 Feb killed truck driver in Muyuka town. Military 3 Feb reportedly killed three civilians in Ikata village, 6 Feb killed six suspected separatists in Bakebe village, 20 Feb reportedly killed at least three civilians in Bakundu village. French President Macron 22 Feb said he would put “maximum pressure” on President Biya to end violence in Anglophone regions; govt 24 Feb denounced France for interfering in its internal affairs. In Far North, BH attacks 1-25 Feb left at least two dozen civilians, three militants and one soldier dead.
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.