Suspected Anglophone separatists killed two police officers at a border post in the Southwest region on Thursday, November 30. This raises the total number of police officers killed in the region during the month of November to ten. Another police officer and one soldier were also injured in the attack. The security forces had been carrying out routine patrols in Otu when they were ambushed, according to Cameroonian government sources. Additional violence - and the consequent imposition of further curfews and security measures, along with associated transportation disruptions - is expected in Cameroon's Anglophone regions (Northwest and Southwest regions) over the coming weeks.
The Cameroonian government has responded to violence in Anglophone regions with a heightened security presence, including the implementation of an overnight curfew from November 8 to 23 in Mezam department (Northwest region), as well as the imposition of additional security measures in Buea (Southwest region), effective until further notice; these measures prohibit the use of motorcycle taxis between 19:00 and 06:00 (local time) and restrict the sale and use of firearms, among other conditions.
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 1, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. Some Anglophone residents, conversely, have demanded better integration into mainstream Cameroonian society and politics and have called for 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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