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Cameroon: Curfew in Mezam department (Northwest region) /update 1

Overnight curfew in Mezam department (Northwest region) November 8-23 (22:00 to 05:00) to prevent further attacks

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/9/2017, 12:00 AM until 11/23/2017, 11:59 PM (Africa/Douala). COUNTRY/REGION Cameroon

Event

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was implemented in Mezam department, including the city of Bamenda (Northwest region), on Wednesday, November 8. The curfew, intended to help security forces prevent violent outbreaks in Bamenda, will be in effect from 22:00 to 05:00 (local time) until November 23. An increased security presence will also be deployed in the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest.

The implementation of the curfew follows recent attacks carried out by Anglophone secessionists in the city, in which four police officers and one civilian were killed. The Ambazonian Governing Council, a separatist movement calling for the creation of an independent state called Ambazonia, has claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that further attacks will take place until security forces leave the area.

Tensions remain high throughout the Anglophone regions and large-scale protests are likely

Context

Simmering resentment that dates back to the period of independence has resurfaced within the minority Anglophone community in Cameroon over the past year, sparked by the central government's decision in November 2016 to not translate a law into English. 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 1, 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. Others protesters, conversely, have demanded better integration into mainstream Cameroonian society and politics and an end to the political and economic marginalization of the regions.

The government has responded with a heightened security presence and the implementation of curfews with little warning.

The recent unrest has prompted the US Embassy in Yaoundé to advise its citizens and embassy staff to defer all nonessential travel to the Southwest and Northwest regions. Similarly, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released a travel warning advising against all travel to the Southeast region’s Bakassi Peninsula and all nonessential travel to Bamenda (Northwest region) and Buea (Southwest region).

Advice

Individuals in Cameroon are advised to closely monitor the situation, adhere to advice issued by local authorities or their home governments, and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence.

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