On the night (local time) of Saturday, September 8, separatist gunmen blocked access to Bamenda, the capital of Northwest region. According to media reports, at least 1000 people were prevented from traveling in or out of the city. Some of the buses stopped by the militants that were traveling to French-speaking cities were also damaged or burned. Separatist groups later claimed responsibility for the roadblocks on social media, stating that no buses would be allowed to travel into or out of the English-speaking Northwest or Southwest regions after Sunday, September 16. The groups said that the measures are part of their plan to prevent the October 7 presidential election from being held in the English-speaking regions. Military officials said that additional soldiers were deployed to Bamenda on Sunday, September 9, to remove the separatist militants from the area. The governor of Northwest region also announced on Sunday that a dusk to dawn curfew will be in affect until further notice. All travel by unauthorized individuals is prohibited between 18:00 and 06:00. Clashes between security forces and militants in the region are possible in the coming days.
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 all 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.
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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