A major security operation is reportedly ongoing in the Northwest Region capital Bamenda as of Thursday, September 10, a week after major clashes erupted in the city between security forces and suspected Anglophone separatists. Police and military personnel are continuing to patrol areas throughout the city and have established checkpoints at major road junctions to ensure government control of the Anglophone capital, but some neighborhoods where separatist groups wielded significant influence are reported to have been largely abandoned. Hundreds of civilians are believed to have left the city for other separatist-controlled areas, with numerous shops and businesses having been closed. Military authorities are also reported to have banned motorcycle taxis from the city's roads as a security measure.
Whilst last week's clashes which prompted authorities to launch the crackdown in Bamenda quickly subsided, several military personnel are reported to have been wounded in raids and other security operations in the city in recent days. Several alleged separatist leaders have also been arrested or killed, including a high-profile local gang leader during a raid on Sunday, September 6.
Further security operations, including patrols, searches, checkpoints, and movement restrictions, are likely in Bamenda in the near term, with an associated risk of attacks targeting security forces in the city.
Clashes between security forces and suspected Anglophone separatists erupted in Bamenda on September 1 after two police officers were ambushed in the Small Mankon area of the city. Sporadic gunfire was subsequently reported in the city, including in the City Chemist, Food Market, and Commercial Avenue areas, as security forces conducted a search for the attackers.
Tensions between Cameroon's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities remain high in the Northwest and Southwest regions, where a separatist movement has transformed into a low-level armed insurgency. The situation has deteriorated considerably since September 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations estimates that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict, with more than 675,000 others believed to have been internally displaced.
Those in Bamenda and elsewhere in Cameroon's Anglophone regions are advised to maintain a heightened level of vigilance due to the high risk of violence between separatists and government forces. Monitor local media for the latest updates on the security situation and adhere to any directives issued by local authorities and security forces, including curfews.
The security environment in the Northwest and Southwest regions remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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