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

Deteriorated Situation

Anglophone region violence surged around National Day; election tensions continued to mount. 

Separatist tensions and violence escalated in North West (NW) and South West (SW). Ambazonia rebels and security forces heavily clashed in lead-up to 20 May National Day celebration, killing at least sixteen. Notably, govt forces 5 May targeted separatist strongholds in Ndop town (NW), eliminating prominent commander and two fighters. Separatists 10 May ambushed and killed six gendarmes near Mamfe town (SW) and 14 May clashed with soldiers in Bambui town (NW), killing at least four including two civilians. Govt forces 16 May killed four rebels in Kumbo town (NW), while separatist fighters same day killed two soldiers in Akwaya town (SW). On day of celebrations, suspected separatists 20 May assassinated mayor of Belo town (NW); separatist-imposed “ghost town” strikes 17-20 May paralysed business and movement in NW and SW. Meanwhile, former spokesperson of Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) armed group, alias “Capo Daniel”, 4 May urged ceasefire and direct negotiations with Yaoundé; govt dismissed move while ADF denounced him as “traitor”.

Far North unrest continued. Boko Haram attacks persisted as Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) continued “Operation Lake Sanity II”, launched in April to reclaim territory. Fishermen 11-12 May clashed with JAS Bakura faction in three villages around Lake Chad, seizing guns and three motorbikes, casualties unknown. Jihadist militants 12 May carried out multiple attacks, including cattle rustling and abduction of at least two women in Djibrili village, Mayo-Tsanaga division. Meanwhile, govt forces 14 May announced rescue of 300 Boko Haram captives after week-long operation along northern border with Nigeria.

Tensions continued to mount in run-up to 2025 elections. Concerns over govt manipulation of election process grew as senior govt official 2 May cautioned electoral commission against inciting public voting drive amid calls from opposition politicians for mass registration to challenge President Biya; ruling party mayor 4 May halted registration process in a district of Yaoundé reportedly attended overwhelmingly by opposition supporters. Meanwhile, protests early May erupted in West region over alleged registration irregularities by ruling party, while pro-Biya demonstrators in South region 5 May blocked roads to hinder opposition activity.

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In The News

23 lut 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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