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Cameroon: France and UK warn against travel to Anglophone regions

French and British governments warn against non-essential travel to the Northwest and Southwest (Anglophone) regions

27 Mar 09:43 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 3/26/2018, 12:00 AM until 5/31/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Douala). COUNTRY/REGION Southwest region, Northwest region

Event

The French government is now warning citizens against travel to the Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest due to security concerns. On Monday, March 26, the French ambassador to Cameroon announced that French citizens should avoid all non-essential travel to the regions. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also released an updated warning on Tuesday, March 27, advising against all travel within 40 km (25 mi) of the Nigerian border and non-essential travel to Northwest and Southwest. Other Western governments also advise their citizens against non-essential trips to major cities in the area.

Context

A nightly curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time) is currently in effect for the Northwest and Southwest regions. In the Northwest region, the curfew has been extended indefinitely, while in the Southwest region the curfew is currently schedule to remain in place until Sunday, April 8. Local officials have stated that the measures have been implemented due to recurring waves of violence attributed to separatist militants.

Simmering resentment dating back to the period of independence has resurfaced within the minority English-speaking community in Cameroon's Northwest and Southwest regions in recent years. The period since November 2016 has been marked by the closure of all English-speaking schools, strikes, unrest, and sporadic violence. Tensions between English- and French-speaking communities have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region.

Advice

Due to ongoing sociopolitical violence, individuals in Southwest and Northwest regions are advised to closely monitor the situation, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities (particularly curfews), and adhere to advice issued by their home government.

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; travel to these areas should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.

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