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Cameroon

The Boko Haram insurgency is on the wane in the Lake Chad basin but continues to carry out attacks against civilian and military targets in Cameroon’s Far North. The war has killed 2,000 Cameroonians, displaced 170,000 and triggered the rise of vigilante self-defence groups. Meanwhile, Cameroon’s Anglophone region has experienced violent flare-ups as the central government represses dissent over the perceived marginalisation of the English-speaking minority. Crisis Group aims to reduce conflict risks in the Far North and to promote confidence-building measures and better governance to defuse the Anglophone crisis. Through field research led by our analyst and advocacy with the government as well as with national and international stakeholders, we work to increase the likelihood of peaceful presidential elections in October 2018.

CrisisWatch Cameroon

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Anglophone separatist militants and security forces intensified attacks on each other and civilians in west, leaving at least 60 people dead and raising risk of worse violence there in June, as Boko Haram (BH) continued attacks in Far North. Anglophone separatists reportedly killed thirteen security force members in Southwest region 3-15 May and two in Northwest region 16-18 May. On National Day (anniversary of unification of French- and English-speaking parts of Cameroon) 20 May separatists attacked Ekona, Kumba, Ikiliwindi and Nguti, all Southwest, killing three security force members and kidnapped officials in Lebialem and Banguem, both Southwest. Ten people reportedly killed in incidents involving security forces in Batibo and Bali villages, Northwest 25 May. Operation by security forces in Menka, Northwest 25 May left at least 32 dead; military said it killed 27 Anglophone militants who killed four of their hostages, Anglophone separatists denied any militants present. Spokesman of Interim Govt of Ambazonia (self-proclaimed Anglophone state) 13 May called on all Francophones in Anglophone area to leave, threatening attacks if they did not, and on all Anglophones in French-speaking area to return to their “homeland”; thousands of Francophones left Northwest and Southwest provinces. Some separatists endorsed call, others distanced themselves from it. BH insurgents killed one civilian in Krawa-Maffa, Mayo Tsanaga department 5 May; kidnapped chief of Kalama, Logone-et-Chari department early May, released him a few days later after family paid undisclosed ransom; security forces arrested three BH around Sagme, Logone-et-Chari 7 May; BH attacked Zeneme, Mayo Tsanaga 14 May stealing 120 cattle.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

17 Feb 2018
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. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
12 Feb 2018
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. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
1 Feb 2018
[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. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
30 Jan 2018
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]. AFP

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
27 Dec 2017
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. Bloomberg

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa
2 Dec 2017
[Home-made bombs and attacks directly targeting Cameroon's security forces] can be explained by the radicalisation of the population in these regions due to the police repression and arbitrary killings. RFI

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Senior Analyst, Central Africa

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

Au Cameroun, le spectre de la guerre civile plane à nouveau

Ce dimanche 20 mai le Cameroun célèbre sa fête nationale qui marque l'unité entre le Cameroun francophone et le Cameroun anglophone. Quarante-six ans plus tard, le pays est plus que jamais divisé.

Originally published in Jeune Afrique

Briefing / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How the Catholic Church Can Promote Dialogue

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.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Cameroon: Electoral Uncertainty amid Multiple Security Threats

Cameroon is facing violence in three regions, local communities are struggling to resist Boko Haram recruitment and the humanitarian crisis is worsening. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to support regional governments to provide humanitarian assistance and encourage the state to develop projects to boost local economies.

Op-Ed / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis is Escalating. Here’s How It Could Be Resolved.

Improving decentralisation countrywide would appeal to Anglophone protesters, but without seeming to give them special treatment.

Originally published in African Arguments

Op-Ed / Africa

Cameroun : le risque d’embrasement de la crise anglophone inquiète les francophones

La crise ouverte voici presque un an dans les régions dites anglophones (Nord-Ouest et Sud-Ouest) du Cameroun persiste.

Originally published in Jeune Afrique