Suspected Anglophone separatists reportedly killed four Cameroonian soldiers in Southwest region early on Wednesday, November 29. The separatist attack took place in the Mamfe area around 02:00 (local time) on Wednesday, according to Cameroonian government sources. Additional violence - and the consequent imposition of further curfews, additional security measures, and associated transportation disruptions - is expected in Cameroon's Anglophone regions (Northwest and Southwest regions) in the coming weeks.
Anglophone separatists have launched several attacks on Cameroonian soldiers in recent weeks, killing at least eight soldiers in less than a month. The government has responded to the increased unrest with a heightened security presence, including the implementation on November 8 of a curfew in Mezam department (Northwest region) from 22:00 to 05:00 that lasted until November 23, as well as the imposition of additional security measures in Buea (Southwest region), effective until further notice; the new rules prohibit the use of commercial motorbikes from 19:00 to 06:00 and restrict the sale and use of firearms, among other measures.
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, 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 recent unrest prompted the US Embassy in Yaoundé to issue an advisory to its citizens and embassy staff in early October to exercise caution when traveling to the Southwest and Northwest regions. Similarly, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released a travel warning in early October advising against all travel to the Southwest region's Bakassi Peninsula and all nonessential travel to Bamenda (Northwest region) and Buea (Southwest 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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