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28 Sep 2018 | 06:03 AM UTC

Cameroon: Separatist-related violence in Buea and Limbe (Southwest) Sep. 26-27

At least eight people killed in separatist-related violence in Buea and Limbe (Southwest region) September 26-27; further attacks likely

security
CMR

Event

Separatist militants killed two police officers and injured another overnight September 26-27 in Limbe (Southwest region), before fleeing with police weapons. On Thursday, September 27, police officers killed six civilians suspected of being separatist militants in the nearby city of Buea; another man was injured.

Exchanges of fire were also reported on Thursday in Bamenda (Northwest region).

Clashes between separatist militants and security forces have become increasingly violent in recent months and additional fighting is expected to continue in the near-term, especially on October 1, date of the anniversary of the unification of Cameroon in 1961.

Context

Ongoing violence carried out by armed separatist groups in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions may escalate during the presidential electoral cycle, which began on September 22 and will last through October 22 when election results are officially released. Local officials have imposed an indefinite curfew in the Northwest region between the hours of 18:00 and 06:00 (local time).

Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities in the Northwest and Southwest regions remain high. The period since November 2016 has been marked by the closure of English-speaking schools, strikes, unrest, and sporadic violence. These tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee over the border into Nigeria. At least 400 civilians, as well as 172 members of security forces have reportedly been killed in the violent unrest thus far in 2018.

Advice

Due to ongoing sociopolitical violence, individuals in the Northwest and Southwest regions are advised to closely monitor the situation, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities (particularly curfews), and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence. On a separate note, some Western governments advise against travel to the Far North region as well as other areas bordering Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic (CAR); travel to these areas should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.

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