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30 Jan 2020 | 06:37 AM UTC

Cameroon: Residents flee Anglophone regions ahead of elections January 29

Cameroonians flee Anglophone regions as violence intensifies prior to parliamentary elections January 29

security
transportation
CMR

Event

According to media sources, residents of the anglophone Northwest region are fleeing the area to neighboring Nigeria due to the threat of separatist violence ahead of the parliamentary election scheduled for Sunday, February 9.

While Cameroon's government declared the Anglophone regions were peaceful enough to hold the elections, separatists militants reportedly targeted security forces, civilians, and electoral officials over the past few weeks after they vowed on social media platforms in late December that no election would take place in Anglophone regions.

A heightened security presence should therefore be expected, as well as separatist attacks and transportation disruptions during this period.

Context

On January 3 separatist leaders in the Anglophone regions announced that a six-day lockdown will be imposed from February 7 to February 12 to prevent elections from taking place. Dozens of candidates have been kidnapped by separatist forces in the Northwest and Southwest regions in recent months.

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.

Advice

Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests or large gatherings and polling stations due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.