Southern Cameroons Crisis Intensifies

Southern Cameroons Crisis Intensifies

In the past year, both national holidays commemorating Cameroon's foundations - October 2017's independence anniversary and May 2018's National Day salute to the unitary state system - were marred by violence between the Francophone government and Anglophone secessionists. The secessionists, who formally declared independence for the "Republic of Ambazonia" in October, have struggled to establish a sovereign state comprising the bilingual country's primarily English-speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions. Now, they are resorting to any means necessary - including violence - to achieve their goals.

Issues of minority recognition in Cameroon are rooted in the country's post-colonial unification and long-standing tradition of sidelining the English-speaking minority's language and customs. When the movement's current manifestation emerged in late 2016, it did so through peaceful protests calling for a return to Anglophone-Francophone federalism. However, because of the government's violent reaction to such demonstrations, the movement morphed into its present form. It is now more mainstream in reach, but more extreme in strategy.

The shift in the movement's ultimate goal--from power-sharing to secession--has subsequently changed its methodology. Now, life in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon is characterized by fear as protests, curfews, security patrols, arrests, abductions, and killings occur daily. While the rebels' strategy has become increasingly violent, the central government is equally responsible for the many deaths and disappearances reported over the past six months.

Source: all africa