The Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (Socadef), an Anglophone separatist militia, has declared a ceasefire which will come into effect on Sunday, March 29. According to the group, the move is “a gesture of goodwill.” The announcement comes after the UN called for a global ceasefire to allow governments to focus on address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is unclear if other separatist groups in Cameroon will also participate in the ceasefire. According to media reports, the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF), one of the largest rebel groups, refused to participate in the negotiations.
A reduction in violence between security forces and militias in Northwest and Southwest regions is possible over the coming days and weeks after the ceasefire comes into effect.
Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. Tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations reported that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2016.
Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid non-essential travel to the Southwest and Northwest regions, avoid all protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.