In what is called English-speaking Cameroon, violence does not seem to be giving way to peace — quite the opposite. There has been a further escalation in hostilities in the days surrounding the senatorial elections that were held March 25. Since the independent Republic of Ambazonia was proclaimed in the southwestern and northwestern regions in October 2017, the security forces have continued to clash with Anglophone separatists, often with civilian casualties.
The arrest in Nigeria and deportation to Cameroon last month of 47 separatists, including one of their leaders, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, has been condemned by the United Nations (because the separatists had requested political asylum) and has caused a new wave of violence. Nonetheless, Nigeria has promised to “intensify” its military cooperation with Cameroon in order to flush out the rebels from its border regions.
Meanwhile, the state security forces of Cameroon and the separatists have not stopped fighting even after the cabinet reshuffle which took place on March 2, and with which President Paul Biya (pictured) tried to offer a gesture of appeasement toward the Anglophone region through a greater decentralization of powers — while at the same time keeping the military option at full strength. In the end, the violence and kidnappings by the Ambazonia Defense Force group continued unabated.