Cameroon is beset with two major violent conflicts but also faces rising ethno-political tensions on- and offline. The bigger conflict, between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority, started in 2017 and has killed over 6,000 people. It has displaced 765,000 people, of whom over 70,000 are refugees in Nigeria. According to the UN, 2.2 million of the Anglophone regions’ four million people need humanitarian support while about 600,000 children have been deprived of effective schooling because of the conflict. The country also faces a reinvigorated jihadist insurgency with deadly attacks in the Lake Chad area. 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. Nascent ethnic clashes along the border with Chad have displaced thousands too. 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

Unchanged Situation

Anglophone separatists sought African Union (AU) support, enforced lockdowns and continued to clash with govt forces; jihadist attacks persisted in the Far North. 

Separatists pursued AU backing, clashed with govt forces. Anglophone separatist group Ambazonia Governing Council 3 April sent joint letter with Nigerian Biafra separatist group to AU Chairperson Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, urging body’s intervention in their independence causes, including leading dialogue and mediation initiatives and establishing fact-finding missions to investigate human rights violations. Separatist-enforced lockdowns continued to cause disruption in North West (NW) and South West (SW) regions as weekly “Monday ghost town” strikes halted public activities, including delaying school reopenings and threatening farming; in Nkambe city, Donga Mantung division (NW), separatist militia Ambazonia Defence Force 15 April burned dozen motorbikes as punishment for non-compliance with strikes. Separatists also clashedwith govt forces and detonated around dozen roadside bombs between March and April, mostly in NW, damaging military patrol vehicles and resulting in unspecified numbers of casualties. Govt forces 8 April killed two notorious separatist fighters in Bafut and Batibo areas (NW) and two others on 24 April near Kumba city (SW). Meanwhile, two prominent repentant separatist fighters mid-April criticised govt’s demobilisation program in viral video, denouncing unfulfilled promises.

Jihadist violence persisted in Far North. Boko Haram militants 6 April targeted Ngourkouma town, Logone-et-Chari division, but faced resistance from locals who seized weapons from assailants; militants 16 April issued ultimatum to residents, demanding return of seized weapons under threat of harm to their children, prompting hundreds from neighbouring fishing villages to flee to nearby Blangoua town over fear retribution would spread. Bakoura faction of Boko Haram 14-29 April carried out attacks on military positions in Magdeme, Mora, Kolofata and Zigue towns, raiding nearby villages for resources, and 29 April killed at least six civilians and two soldiers at Darak town. Meanwhile, soldiers and vigilantes 25 April freed around twenty women Boko Haram had kidnapped near Amchide town two days earlier. 

Preparations for 2025 presidential elections continued. Amid concerns over slow voter registration rate, ruling and opposition parties, alongside religious leaders, mobilised citizens to register.

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In The News

23 Feb 2022
The authorities [in Cameroon] should persecute those who are responsible for crimes and include women in the peace process. VOA

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon

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Arrey Elvis Ntui

Consulting Senior Analyst, Cameroon
Arrey Elvis Ntui

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