Elections were held throughout Cameroon on Sunday, October 7 amid a tense political climate. According to local sources, polling stations closed at 18:00 (local time), with election officials announcing that results will not be released for at least a week. Although no major incidents were reported in the Francophone regions of Cameroon (including the capital Douala), a heavy security presence was reported nationwide on Sunday, especially in the Anglophone-majority Northwest and Southwest regions. According to local sources, multiple gunshots were heard throughout the day in Bamenda (Northwest). On Sunday morning, three suspected separatist militants were killed by security forces in Bamenda after reportedly shooting at a crowd of residents, killing at least one person. In addition, overnight on October 6-7, suspected separatist militants attacked and burned down a courthouse in Kumba (Southwest).
A continued heavy security presence can be expected throughout major urban centers, especially in the Northwest and Southwest, in the coming hours and days. Political demonstrations, as well as attacks by separatist militants, cannot be ruled out.
On, October 5, Cameroonian authorities announced temporary movement restrictions banning all circulation of people and goods by land, rail, or air outside of urban centers or rural localities from 18:00 on October 6 to 18:00 on election day. International flights were not affected by the order. Various commercial activities, as well as all demonstrations, were also be banned on the day of the election.
Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities in the Northwest and Southwest regions are high. The period since November 2016 has been marked by the closure of 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. At least 400 civilians, as well as 172 members of security forces, have reportedly been killed in the violent unrest thus far in 2018.
Individuals in Cameroon are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation and avoid any rallies, protests, or other large public gatherings due to the potential for unrest. Abide by all instructions issued by the authorities.
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