War Imminent in Cameroon – International Crisis Group Warns

Police block rioters in front of the Divisional Officers building in Kumba, Southwest Region, Cameroon, amid an ongoing political crisis in the country’s Anglophone region. Credit: IPS reporter

By Hans Ngala, Friday, October 20, 2017


Southern Cameroons Journal – International Crisis Group, the non-profit organization that carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve has warned that the tardiness of Cameroonian authorities to “find political solutions to the crisis” would lead to an “armed uprising in Anglophone regions, which would without doubt have an impact in the Francophone zone.”

The wake-up call is contained in the Group’s latest report  dated October 19 on the situation in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon that have been scarred by socio-political unrests for one year running.

The Crisis Group writes partly: The events of 1 October (a date commemorating the 1961 reunification between the Cameroon under French mandate and the British Southern Cameroons) are the culmination of a new, intensified phase of the crisis. It is marked by the failure of official government missions abroad in August, which led to increased cases of arson and sporadic violence by unidentified splinter groups, violent repression of Anglophone activists by security forces on 22 September, bomb blasts in the Northwest, and a de facto state of emergency from 29 September to 3 October.

Going further, the group makes even more poignant and ominous pronouncements,  “Due to such murderous repression, secessionist ranks are growing by the day, and some are more firmly evoking the idea of an armed struggle or “self-defense.” If he hopes to avoid an armed uprising in Anglophone regions, which would without doubt have an impact in the Francophone zone, the Cameroonian president must go beyond superficial measures and take responsibility in order


to find political solutions to the crisis. The recommendations detailed in the August 2017 Crisis Group report still stand, but the gravity of the situation means that more urgent action must be taken. Reforms should be preceded by an inclusive dialogue at the highest level to develop long-term solutions. Following this bloody repression, the worsening crisis now calls for the intervention of a credible mediator, such as the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) or the African Union.”

The complicity of the international community is not left out unendited as the Group writes; “International partners, who have until now been passive or complacent vis-à-vis the regime, should strongly condemn such state violence and terrible killings. They should also request an independent investigation and sanctions against the




perpetrators, as well as the launch of an inclusive dialogue on decentralisation and federalism. Finally, they should clearly point out that renewed, widespread violence perpetrated by the security forces will lead to a reassessment of military cooperation with Cameroon.”

The warnings come barely two months after the International Crisis Group warned in August in a similar report that events might take this bloody twist as they did on September 22 and October 1 (just 10 days apart).

The lengthy, detailed report can be read in its entirety at https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/central-africa/cameroon/130-cameroon-worsening-anglophone-crisis-calls-strong-measures






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