An increased security presence has been reported in Bamenda, Northwest region, on Friday, February 9. According to local media, security forces launched a series of raids throughout the town on Friday starting at 05:00 (local time), disrupting businesses, markets, and schools. Gunshots were reported in some areas of the town, including around Commercial Avenue, Mile 4, and Mile 2 Nkwein. Security operations were reportedly ongoing as of 16:00. Tensions remain high in the city between the English-speaking community and the authorities.
Authorities launched the raids after a soldier was killed in Bamenda on the night of Thursday, February 8. Security forces killed four civilians on February 2-3 in 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.
On February 2, Cameroonian authorities announced a six-month ban on the possession, purchase, and sale of all firearms and ammunition throughout the Northwest region. The ban was enacted in response to a recent uptick in attacks as well as increasing tensions between English- and French-speaking communities in the Northwest region.
Individuals in Bamenda 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.
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