4 October 2018

Cameroon: Deadly Violence Mars Watershed Elections

Photo: M.E. Kindzeka/VOA
Women protest, holding up a poster with images of atrocities committed in an ongoing conflict between government forces and armed separatists, in Bamenda, Cameroon, Sept. 7, 2018.

Yaounde — Ongoing attacks by the Boko Haram and violence in the English speaking regions of Cameroon have raised fears of bloodshed when the country holds elections on Sunday.

Hundreds of people and over 160 security personnel have been killed during clashes in regions where English-speaking communities allege marginalization by the government dominated by French speakers.

Tensions remain high after separatists proclaimed the independence of the so-called Ambazonia.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said upcoming elections were worsening tensions.

President Paul Biya, the world's second-longest serving president, in power since 1982, is seeking re-election.

The 85-year old has clung on to power amid claims of voting irregularities, voter intimidation and fraud.

The International Crisis Group has also warned Cameroon's Anglophone separatists and security forces had stepped up attacks and violence could rise around the presidential vote.

Meanwhile, the Boko Haram terrorists have ambushed security forces, convoys and bases in the Far North Cameroon ahead of elections.

"The attacks signify insurgents' ability to kill and cause extensive damage to property," the organisation stated.

The Central African country of 24 million people gained independence from France in 1961.

Biya succeeded founding president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, now late, after his resignation.

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