The current anglophone crisis was instigated by strike actions led by lawyers and teachers protesting against perceived marginalization by the country’s majority Francophone government.

Their claims were related to the legal system’s failure to use the Common Law in the two regions, which had previously been neglected by the ministry of justice. The arrest of the movement’s top figures and other security operations shattered trust between Anglophone activists and the government. Since then, there have been general strikes, school boycotts, and sporadic violence in the two English-speaking regions.

As of January 2022, several individuals have been internally displaced in Anglophone areas, as the country’s political, economic, and social growth was hampered by a crisis already in its fifth year. After enforcing boycotts of schools with violence since 2017, separatists have continued to target educational institutions and notably security forces. Insurgent attacks in Momo and Mezam in the Northwest and Fako in the Southwest have had the greatest impact.

During the Month of March 2022, suspected Fulani Herdsmen in the Menchum department, under the umbrella of the Cameroon Army carried out raids in various parts of the department reportedly in search of separatist fighters rendering thousands homeless. These herdsmen were also held responsible for the assassination of the fon of Esu village in Menchum, causing chaos and unrest among indigenes. In April 2022, Senator Regina Mundi of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Party, CPDM was kidnapped by suspected separatist fighters in Bamenda. A series of other attacks followed this attack while a week-long ghost town was imposed within the northwest by separatist forces.

Fig 1: This chart highlights confirmed cases of separatist attacks in the Anglophone Regions from May 2021 – April 2022. The Northwest region is the most volatile as it records more attacks and fatalities (in label) owing to the presence of the secessionist group in departments such as Mezam, Momo, Le Bialem and Ngo-Ketunjia.

 

 

The frequency of these attacks, the weaponry utilized, and the impact on Anglophone communities is a source of concern. Meanwhile, attacks and restrictions on travel and business activities will continue to plague the population, as they have in the past.

Furthermore, individuals are frequently caught in the middle of gunfights, random shootings, and many a time victims of torture by security officials to give up separatist hideouts during security operations.

The National Day of Cameroon, also known as Unity Day, is celebrated annually on 20 May. On the 20th of May 1972, in a national referendum, Cameroonians voted for a unitary state as opposed to the existing federal state. Attacks on security forces and government personnel have intensified over the past few days ranging from Improvised Explosive Attacks (IED) on security forces to mitigate attacks on government personnel. These attacks can be attributed to the upcoming 20 May celebration, considering the fact that the anglophone crisis is aimed at demanding a return to the federal model that existed from 1961 to 1972. The Cameroon national day is usually commemorated by a parade in all regions by security forces and other organizational bodies. A one-week lockdown has been declared in the Northwest region, in a bid to boycott these activities.

Some people have disassociated themselves from the movement due to government pressure and the financial constraints of continuing the strike, and more would do so if secessionist threats were not present. They are nevertheless dissatisfied. If no acceptable progress is made, notably on educational reform and administration, the risk is that they will become further resentful after sacrificing several years and defying pressure from the government and secessionist militants.