Monday, October 1, 2018

Five things to know about the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon


Cameroon, which elects its president on October 7, is experiencing near-daily violence in its two English-speaking regions, a legacy of the turbulent history of this former German colony.

Cameroon, which elects its president on October 7, is experiencing near-violent violence. - daily in its two English-speaking regions, a legacy of the turbulent history of this former German colony, divided after the First World War between French and British.

The armed separatists promised that the vote would not take place in the English-speaking areas. - Legacy of 14-18.

After the defeat of Germany in 1918, the League of Nations (SDN, ancestor of the UN), placed four fifths of the German Kamerun under French tutelage, and the western part bordering Nigeria under British tutelage.

The French side became independent in 1960. A year later, a part of Cameroon under British tutelage (the north mostly Muslim) opted for its attachment to Nigeria and the other party for its attachment to the French-speaking Cameroon, to form a Federal Republic to From October 1, 1961.

In 1972, a referendum ended federalism.


- English-speaking minority


Cameroon is largely francophone and comprises ten regions, two of which are mainly English-speaking, the Northwest (capital: Bamenda) and the South-West. (capital: Buea). Anglophones make up about 20% of the 23 million inhabitants.

The authorities extol the reality of bilingualism, with the opening of bilingual English / French schools. The country is a member of La Francophonie and the Commonwealth.

Nevertheless, many Anglophones consider themselves marginalized or even discriminated against and denounce an inequitable sharing of wealth.

On state television CRTV, some editions of the newspaper alternate English and French, but overall French predominates in the programs.

- "Unity" challenged

In the 1990s, English-speaking demands multiply in favor of a referendum of independence. In 2001, protests banned on the 40th anniversary of unification degenerated, with several dead and arrested separatist leaders.

The current tensions began in November 2016, with teachers lamenting the appointment of French speakers in English-speaking regions, or lawyers rejecting the supremacy of Roman law at the expense of the Anglo-Saxon "Common Law".

Most of the protest leaders are demanding a return to federalism and, for a minority, independence and the proclamation of a new state, "Ambazonia".

The executive, led by President Paul Biya (since 1982) and his English-speaking prime minister, have rejected both demands. - Repression and violence InDecember 2016, demonstrations in the English-speaking area, repressed by the police, resulted in the first civilian deaths.Others will follow during protests, severely repressed by the police.

On 17 January 2017, several English-speaking leaders at the head of the claims are arrested and charged with "acts of terrorism". Paul Biya lifts the charges in August.

Between January and March, the internet is cut in the English-speaking zone.

On 1 October, at least 17 people are killed on the sidelines of a symbolic proclamation of independence by separatists. "We are no longer the slaves of Cameroon," says Ambazonia's self-proclaimed "president," Sisiku Ayuk Tabe.

At the end of 2017, a radical fringe and separatist of the English-speaking minority takes up arms. Scattered in various groups, they attack the security forces as well as the symbols of the administration such as schools, which they set on fire.They also kidnap policemen, civil servants and businessmen, sometimes foreigners.

The separatists accuse the government of having "militarized" the English-speaking regions. - 2018, presidential year

In April 2018, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), the main opposition party, believes that the crisis has "degenerated into an open civil war".

Fighting between soldiers and separatists has become almost daily, killing 170 members of the security forces and "at least 400 civilians," according to the International Crisis Group (ICG). About 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

Amnesty International, which denounces an escalation of violence, calls on the authorities to "urgently" and "independently" investigate crimes committed by law enforcement or separatists in the English-speaking area.

At age 85, including nearly 36 in power, Paul Biya is running for a seventh presidential term on 7 October.

The armed separatists promised that the vote would not take place in the English-speaking regions. Since mid-September, mass departures of populations have been observed in these regions for fear of an intensification of fighting.


Source: cameroon-info.net