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Cameroon Alerte de sécurité

Cameroon: President Biya's visit to Buea canceled on Oct. 2 /update 4

President Biya's visit to Buea canceled on October 2 amid increasing tensions in the region

02 oct. 16h41 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 2/10/2018, 12h00 until 7/10/2018, 11h59 (Africa/Douala). COUNTRY/REGION Buea
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Event

On Tuesday, October 2, President Paul Biya canceled a scheduled visit to Buea (Southwest region) amid high tensions in Cameroon's English-speaking regions. President Biya's staff did not comment on why the October 2 visit had been canceled, or if President Biya will reschedule his visit to the region. In anticipation of the visit, authorities in Buea had ordered the closure of all businesses and banned all forms of private and public transportation on October 2; despite the president's canceled visit, increased security measures in the area are expected to remain in place in the coming days. Protests remain possible in Buea in the near-term; any such events will likely be met with a forceful response from security forces.

Context

President Biya was supposed to visit the Anglophone region five days before the presidential election scheduled to take place on October 7. Biya will be seeking to extend his 35 years in power in the upcoming vote, which Anglophone separatists have vowed to disrupt.

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.

Advice

Individuals in Northwest and Southwest regions, particularly in Buea, are advised to closely monitor the situation, adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. curfews), and avoid all protests or public gatherings due to the risk of 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 (CAR); travel to these areas should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.

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