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Cameroon

Cameroon is beset with two violent conflicts but also faces rising ethno-political tensions on and offline. Its main conflict, between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority, has killed over 4,000 people and displaced 765,000 of whom 60,000 are refugees in Nigeria. According to the UN, three of the Anglophone regions’ four million people are affected by the humanitarian crisis while about 800,000 children are out of school. The country also faces a reinvigorated Boko Haram insurgency with renewed deadly attacks in the Lake Chad basin after a brief respite. 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. 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

Separatists disrupted regional elections in Anglophone regions, while jihadists continued to target civilians in Far North. President Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) won nine of ten regional councils in 6 Dec elections; CPDM’s ally National Union for Democracy won remaining council; main opposition parties, Maurice Kamto’s Cameroon Renaissance Movement and John Fru Ndi’s Social Democratic Front, boycotted vote. Security forces 8 Dec lifted months-long blockade of Kamto’s home in capital Yaoundé. Ahead of vote, Anglophone separatists 4 Dec imposed three-day ghost town in North West and South West regions. On voting day, suspected separatists 6 Dec killed municipal councillor in Alabukam village and wounded two men near Akum village, both North West. Also in North West, suspected separatists 12 Dec kidnapped Kedjom Ketinguh village chief, released him three days later after ransom payment; armed forces 13 Dec reportedly killed community leader in Mukuru village, Wum commune, and 26 Dec reportedly killed two patients in Tubah District Hospital. In South West region, soldiers 12 Dec reportedly killed two civilians in Eyumojock subdivision, and 21 Dec raided two villages in Mbonge commune, killing six. Suspected separatists 13 Dec kidnapped three village chiefs in regional capital Buea, later killed one and released two. Army and separatists 22 Dec exchanged fire in Tombel town, leaving civilian dead. UN Special Envoy for Central Africa Louceny Fall 9 Dec briefed UN Security Council on Anglophone conflict; U.S. called Cameroon greatest concern in region with 6.2mn in need of humanitarian assistance, 2.3mn more than in early 2020. Boko Haram (BH) attacks continued in Far North. In Mayo-Sava division, BH overnight 9-10 Dec attacked Gakara village, injuring two soldiers; night of 15-16 Dec killed two civilians in Gouzoudou locality. In Mayo-Tsanaga division, BH 2 Dec killed three civilians in Mayo-Moskota town; 28 Dec killed civilian and injured several others in Ouzal village. In Logone-et-Chari division, BH overnight 23-24 Dec killed 12 civilians in Darak and Blangoua towns. In Adamawa region in centre, Central African Republic-based armed group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) 26 Dec reportedly kidnapped three Cameroonian gendarmes.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

3 Dec 2020
Cameroon cannot simply afford to allow the ethnic and political tensions it is facing to rise to levels where they could constitute inter-community violence. VOA

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Around 700,000 young people were excluded from the school system owing to the conflict. AFP

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Le gouvernement et la société civile anglophone ont mis beaucoup de pression sur les groupes séparatistes pour que leurs enfants retournent à l'école. Le Parisien

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
24 Oct 2020
Le boycott des écoles était une stratégie des séparatistes ces dernières années. 700.000 jeunes environ étaient en dehors du système scolaire à cause du conflit. Le Figaro

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
30 Apr 2020
Dans un contexte de violence accrue contre les populations et les séparatistes, le risque est que même une fois la paix revenue dans les régions anglophones, cela complique les relations entre les Mbororo et les autres groupes ethniques. RFI

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
9 Feb 2020
(The election) will further bias the character of state institutions toward the views of a single party and seems bound to reduce prospects for frank discussions about resolving the Anglophone conflict and other brewing crises. AP

Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon

Latest Updates

Video / Africa

Video - Cameroon's Anglophone Dialogue: A Work in Progress

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.

Statement / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Dialogue: A Work in Progress

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.

Also available in Français
Video / Africa

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How to Get to Talks?

In the last 20 months, the conflict in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon has left 1,850 dead, 530,000 internally displaced and tens of thousands of refugees. Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Central Africa Hans De Marie Heungoup talks about how Cameroonian and international actors can play to break the deadlock and encourage the two sides to make concessions.

Impact Note / Africa

A Household Name in Cameroon

Crisis Group’s work in Cameroon put underreported risks in this country on the policymaking radar years before the outbreaks of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North and a separatist revolt in Anglophone regions.

Also available in Français
Q&A / Africa

Uncertainties Deepen in Cameroon after Divisive Election

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.

Also available in Français

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Arrey Elvis Ntui

Senior Analyst, Cameroon
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