Clashes reportedly broke out between separatist militants and police in the town of Nguti, located in the Kupe-Mananenguba division of the Southwest region, on Tuesday, March 13. According to local reports, members of the separatist Ambazonia Defense Forces (ADF) opened fire on the Nguti Gendarmerie Brigade. No casualties were reported, though the situation remains tense. Continued unrest and a heightened security presence are expected across the Northwest and Southwest regions in the coming days and weeks.
Tuesday’s event is the latest in a wave of violence against government installations attributed to separatist groups in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions. On March 11, authorities announced an extension to the curfew in both regions; in the Northwest region the curfew has been extended indefinitely, while in the Southwest region the curfew will remain in place until Sunday, April 8. During this time, curfews will be in effect on a nightly basis in both regions from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time). On March 12, Cameroonian authorities also announced a ban on the use of motorbikes in the Momo and Ngohketunjiaareas of the Northwest Region.
Simmering resentment dating back to the period of independence has resurfaced within the minority English-speaking community in Cameroon's Northwest and Southwest regions in recent years. 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 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region.
Individuals in Northwest and Southwest regions are advised to closely monitor the situation, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities, and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated 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; travel to these areas should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.