According to security forces, seven suspected separatist militants were killed in the town of Bangem (Southwest region) on Sunday, February 9, as they reportedly attempted to attack polling stations amid Cameroonian's legislative and municipal elections. Separatists claimed on social media that five soldiers were killed in coordinated attacks in the Southwest and Northwest regions; the allegation has not been confirmed as of Monday, February 10.
Although Cameroonian authorities expressed satisfaction with the conduct and turnout of the elections despite opposition boycott and separatist threats of violence in Anglophone regions, the turnout was reported to be low in both areas.
Results for the elections are expected in the next two weeks.
6,800,000 voters were registered for the legislative and municipal elections, including 970,000 in the English-speaking regions.
On January 3 separatist leaders in the Anglophone regions announced that a six-day lockdown will be imposed from February 7 to February 12 to prevent elections from taking place. 120 candidates have been kidnapped by separatist forces in the Northwest and Southwest regions in recent months.
Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. Tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations reported that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2016.
Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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