Anglophone separatists launched a three-day “dead city” protest (general strike) in the Anglophone areas of the Southwest and Northwest regions on January 8, which will run through January 10. As of January 9, the extent to which the action was being implemented varied by location; in Bamenda, a number of shops, banks, and schools were reportedly closed on Monday, January 8, while in Buea, the strike was less widely observed. A large number of security forces have reportedly been deployed across the region for the duration of the protest.
Anglophone separatists launched the protest in response to the arrest of separatist leader Julius Tabe and at least nine others in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Saturday, January 6.
Simmering resentment that dates back to the period of independence has resurfaced within the minority Anglophone community in Cameroon's Northwest and Southwest regions over the past year. 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, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The ongoing unrest has prompted the US Embassy in Yaoundé to issue an advisory to its citizens and embassy staff to exercise caution when traveling to the two regions. Similarly, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released a travel warning advising against all travel to the Southwest Region's Bakassi Peninsula, and all nonessential travel to Bamenda (Northwest Region).
Individuals in Cameroon are advised to closely monitor the situation, adhere to advice issued by local authorities and their home governments, and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence.
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