Cameroon's Forgotten Anglophone Conflict

For almost five years, Cameroon’s western provinces have been wracked by a deadly separatist insurgency. In 2016, Anglophone protesters took to the streets angry at the increasing use of French in courtrooms and schools. The government’s crackdown fuelled support for separatism and the emergence of several separatist militias calling for a new state: Ambazonia. Separatists attacked security forces and for years also enforced a school boycott, depriving hundreds of thousands of children of their education. For the most part, Paul Biya’s government has refused to talk directly to separatist leaders and has waged a brutal military campaign. Violence has killed thousands of people and displaced some 700,000 more. For now, no end is in sight. 

In the latest episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk with Arrey Elvis Ntui, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Cameroon, about the war, its toll and prospects for a settlement. They discuss the origins of Anglophone grievances and the motives of separatists and Biya’s government in Yaoundé. They also talk about the role women play in both the insurgency and peacemaking efforts. They ask what a peaceful settlement would look like, and the role Cameroon’s foreign partners could play in getting the parties to the table.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Cameroon page. Make sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming report. 

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