13 February 2018

Cameroon: Conflict Spiraling in Divided Cameroon

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Protesters use catapult against police in Bamenda

Yaounde — THE human rights situation is deteriorating in the English-speaking region of Cameroon due the ongoing socio-political crisis and displacement to neighboring Nigeria.

More than 14 000 Cameroonian asylum seekers have been registered in Nigeria after government increased its crackdown in October after aggrieved communities made a symbolic declaration of independence.

A mission by government and humanitarian agencies to the affected regions in the North-West and South-West has also been also informed of the displacement of several thousand people inside Cameroon following attacks and reprisals.

The mission, which visited the towns of Bamenda and Mamfe, had discussions with civil, military, religious and traditional authorities as well as with some civil society associations and non-governmental organizations operating in the area.

Allegra Baiocchi, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, condemned all reported acts of violence in the regions and reiterated the primary obligation to protect the civilian population.

"Rebuilding trust between authorities and people must necessarily involve transparent and honest communication from all sides and a call for dialogue," said Baiocchi.

Tensions characterise the Central African country of 23 million people, 80 percent of them French-speaking.

The minority English-speakers allege marginalisation by the government of President Paul Biya, which is dominated by French speakers.

Government forces have responded brutally to the protests that began in 2016.

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