CONTENT PREVIEW
Country Risk

Attacks on Cameroonian security forces likely to increase as secessionists lose patience with lack of negotiations

24 January 2018

Key Points

  • The administration of Cameroonian President Biya is unlikely to negotiate with Anglophone secessionists, especially in an election year in which he is likely to again seek re-election.
  • Militant Anglophone secessionist groups are likely to increase attacks on security forces in the run-up to elections. Key hotspots will be in the North-West and South-West regions, especially in the border regions next to Nigeria.
  • Cameroon’s cocoa exports are likely to drop in 2018 due to fighting in the South-West region.

Event

Cameroonian President Paul Biya in his New Year address to the nation on 31 December 2017 made no offer of negotiations with Anglophone secessionists currently fighting the government, despite reiterating his intention to peacefully resolve the Anglophone crisis.Cameroonian President Paul Biya at the One Planet Summit near Paris, France, on 12 December 2017. Biya is unlikely to offer to negotiate with secessionists. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)Cameroonian President Paul Biya at the One Planet Summit near Paris, France, on 12 December 2017. Biya is unlikely to offer to negotiate with secessionists. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

Anglophone protests in Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions, which started in late 2016 initially demanding a return to federalism and later secession from the current centralised system of government, are likely to continue into 2018. The government continues to oppose meaningful decentralisation that will allow for regional governance in sectors such as education and the judiciary. President Paul Biya is likely to seek an additional seven-year term after 35 years in office during elections scheduled for October 2018. Due to the perceived dominance of his ruling party and a fractured opposition unable coalesce around a single challenger, Biya is likely to win should he decide to run in the presidential election. The ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (Rassemblement démocratique du Peuple Camerounais: RDPC) is also likely to win majorities in parliament and the senate in the elections also taking place this year, ultimately preventing any challenge to President Biya’s power.

Secessionist militant attacks on Cameroonian security forces started in November 2017 in Manyu district on the Cameroon-Nigeria border. Unidentified assailants attacked two gendarme officers – national paramilitary troops – in Cameroon’s North-West regional capital town of Bamenda on 7 November, killing them and escaping with their guns and ammunition.

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