Officials have imposed a 48-hour curfew on the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions, effective Sunday, September 30, through Monday, October 1, due to alleged threats by separatist militants. The announcement comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of a symbolic declaration of independence by anglophone separatists, which took place on October 1, 2017. The current curfew bars all public and private forms of transportation and bans all movement of persons between areas in the affected regions. In Buea (capital of Southwest region), all shops and bars will remain closed on Sunday and Monday as part of the curfew, and all social, cultural, and sporting events are also canceled; similar restrictions are probable in other affected areas as well. Protests in defiance of the curfew order remain possible on Sunday and Monday; any such events will likely be met with heavy security and potential violence.
October 1 is the one-year anniversary of a unilateral declaration by radical secessionist leaders of a "Republic of Ambazonia" in Cameroon's English-speaking regions, which spurred pro-independence rallies in the Northwest and Southwest regions and a violent crackdown by security forces. Some 400 civilians and 172 members of the security forces are believed to have died in associated violence in the past year; many more civilians have fled to Nigeria. Most recently, six civilians and two police officers were killed in Buea and Limbe (Southwest region) on September 26-27.
Monday's anniversary comes less than a week before presidential elections are scheduled to be held on October 7, which will see incumbent President Paul Biya seek to extend his 35 years in power. Anglophone separatists have vowed to disrupt next Sunday's polls.
Individuals in Cameroon, particularly in Northwest and Southwest regions, are advised to closely monitor the situation, adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. curfews), and avoid all protests or public gatherings due to the risk of 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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