Camerún

Cameroonians in Rome denouncing the discrimination suffered by Cameroon's Anglophone minority.CreditCreditPatrizia Cortellessa/Pacific Press, via LightRocket, via Getty Images

When our friend Theo first met his Chinese wife, Libby, in Shandong Province, her parents, protective of their only daughter and wary of Africans, finally gave their blessing with the words, “at least he’s not a bad looking black.” Theo tells this story with wry amusement, as though he would parse it more if he were not already so burdened. He is a pleasant and gentle man, respectful, trustworthy, the kind of man who in West Africa would be said to have had “good home training.” But for the past year, a dark sighing heaviness has blanketed him.

He is an Anglophone Cameroonian, and his home is in peril.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dans la région camerounaise de l’Extrême-Nord, les forces de défense et de sécurité affrontent depuis 2014 le mouvement djihadiste Boko Haram, apparu au Nigeria. Au moins 1 900 civils et 200 militaires ont été tués par Boko Haram, et l’Extrême-Nord compte aujourd’hui 240 000 déplacés internes. Mais ce sinistre état des lieux ne dit rien des problèmes sociaux liés au conflit, en particulier des grossesses adolescentes, des mariages d’enfants et de la situation des enfants victimes de Boko Haram.

A l’occasion de travaux de recherche à Maroua, Mokolo, Mora et Kousseri, en février et mars, portant sur les comités de vigilance et les combattants de Boko Haram qui se sont rendus, International Crisis Group (ICG) a pu approfondir son analyse de ces aspects généralement méconnus du conflit, auxquels le gouvernement camerounais comme les donateurs internationaux devraient porter une plus grande attention.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un soldat camerounais patrouille dans les rues de Buea, dans la région du Sud-Ouest, une des deux régions anglophones en crise, le 26 avril. Photo Alexis Huguet. AFP

Le 20 mai, le Cameroun a célébré la 46e édition de la fête de l’unité nationale, sur fonds d’affrontements entre milices séparatistes et forces de défense dans les régions anglophones (Sud-Ouest et Nord-Ouest). La crise en cours depuis presque deux ans s’est transformée en conflit armé. Son bilan est difficile à tirer, mais des centaines de personnes seraient mortes depuis un an, 160 000 sont déplacées et 35 000 réfugiées au Nigeria voisin. Les milices «ambazoniennes», défendant l’indépendance de cet ancien territoire sous tutelle britannique (1918-1961) ciblent les représentants de l’Etat, principalement les forces de sécurité et de défense mais aussi les gouverneurs, préfets, sous-préfets, enseignants.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le Cameroun fait face à une insurrection qui ne cesse de croître. La situation dans les régions anglophones (Nord-Ouest et Sud-Ouest) continue de se détériorer. L’Est, l’Adamaoua et le Nord subissent quotidiennement la violence des coupeurs de route, voleurs de bétail et braconniers, et Boko Haram, même affaibli, n’accorde aucun répit aux populations de l’Extrême-Nord. À l’approche de l’élection présidentielle prévue cette année, les clivages ethniques s’accentuent et la tension politique atteint son paroxysme.

Il y a un an et demi, même les Camerounais les plus pessimistes n’imaginaient pas que la crise dans les régions anglophones, où résident 20% des 24 millions d’habitants du pays, puisse aboutir à une insurrection armée qui menace à présent de se muer guerre civile.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this undated image taken from video distributed Aug. 14, 2016, an alleged Boko Haram soldier standing in front of a group of girls alleged to be some of the 276 abducted Chibok schoolgirls held since April 2014, in an unknown location. (Militant video/Site Institute/AP)

Although widely understood as the Islamist terrorists that they are, Boko Haram insurgents in the borderlands between Cameroon and Nigeria are also slave raiders — at least that’s what many local residents call them. And there’s good reason to use that term. In many striking ways, Boko Haram’s raids for “wives” parallel the slave raids of a century ago.

Thinking about Boko Haram as slave raiders, complete with a history in the semi-lawless borderlands, might change how policymakers approach this group and similar insurgencies across West Africa.

Boko Haram’s activities echo those of earlier smugglers, Islamist militants, and slave raiders

Boko Haram began in 2002-2004 in Maiduguri, the largest city in northeastern Nigeria, as an Islamist movement in which young men from prominent families and jobless youths rejected any engagement with the Nigerian state.…  Seguir leyendo »

Au Cameroun, pour qui veut les égrener, les symptômes de la décadence sautent aux yeux et ne cessent de s’accumuler. Arrivé au pouvoir de manière inattendue en 1982 après la démission d’Ahmadou Ahidjo, premier chef d’Etat camerounais, Paul Biya ne fit guère longtemps illusion.

Brutalement ramené à la réalité en 1984 au lendemain d’une tentative sanglante de coup d’Etat qui coûta la vie à des centaines de mutins originaires pour la plupart du nord du pays, il rangea très vite au placard les velléités de réforme dont il s’était fait, un temps, le porte-parole. Puis, s’appuyant en partie sur les dispositifs et techniques de répression hérités de son prédécesseur, il entreprit de mettre en place l’un des systèmes de gouvernement parmi les plus opaques, les plus centralisés et les plus prosaïques de l’Afrique postcoloniale.…  Seguir leyendo »

On 22 September, massive protests across Cameroon’s Anglophone regions brought an estimated 30-80,000 people onto the streets. These were far larger than those which sparked the crisis at the end of 2016. In clashes with security forces, three to six protesters reportedly died – the first deaths in the crisis since January.

The demonstration came in the context of an already-deteriorating situation marked by the use of homemade bombs by militants, the failure to open schools for a second year due to ongoing strikes, and mounting incidents of arson.

The violence followed incidents in Western capitals throughout the previous month. On 1 August, a meeting in Washington between a senior delegation from the Cameroonian government and the US-based diaspora descended into farce, interrupted by angry exchanges.…  Seguir leyendo »

Déclenchée par des revendications sectorielles, elle reflète un sentiment plus profond de marginalisation historique, politique et économique de 20 pour cent de la population qui s’identifie comme anglophone. Elle s’est encore exacerbée en août et préoccupe désormais les francophones qui semblaient pourtant peu concernés au départ. Ces inquiétudes montrent que la question anglophone a des implications nationales, d’autant plus que les francophones partagent de nombreuses demandes des anglophones.

La crise a éclaté le 11 octobre 2016 avec les revendications successives d’avocats, d’enseignants et d’étudiants. Les avocats anglophones ont lancé une grève pour dénoncer la « francophonisation » du système juridique spécifique, inspiré de la Common Law anglaise, en vigueur dans les régions anglophones depuis le rattachement du Southern Cameroons (Cameroun britannique) à la République du Cameroun (Cameroun sous administration française) en octobre 1961.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cameroon has been fighting the Boko Haram jihadist group in its Far North region for the last three years. The conflict has killed nearly 1,600 people in Cameroon alone and has led to a humanitarian crisis in what was already one of the country’s most impoverished and least-educated regions. As donors and experts convene on 24 February at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin, the international community must find ways to improve overcrowded refugee camps and mitigate growing problems for the local population.

The Far North now hosts 87,000 of Cameroon’s over 360,000 refugees, 191,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 36,000 Cameroonian returnees.…  Seguir leyendo »

On 21 November 2016, around 40-60 Boko Haram members assaulted Darak in Cameroon’s Far North region (Logone et Chari department), killing six soldiers, the leader of the local vigilante committee and 16 fishermen. They attacked Darak again the following day, and a landmine they planted in Zamga (Mayo Tsanaga department) injured eight troops. The same week, Boko Haram also attempted four suicide bombings that were thwarted in the cities of Kolofata and Mora (Mayo Sava department).

November 2016 was a particularly interesting month for Boko Haram watchers as the attack on Darak, one of the most intense and violent actions of Boko Haram in Cameroon that year, was accompanied by nine other attacks, four suicide bombings and fighting between factions of Boko Haram itself.…  Seguir leyendo »

Worldwide indignation has been spurred on by the actions of Boko Haram in Nigeria — from the 2011 bombings of the United Nations headquarters in the capital Abuja to the kidnapping of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria in April 2014.

But, as a report by the International Crisis Group published this month details, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the damage inflicted by the jihadist group in neighbouring countries, particularly Cameroon’s far North.

The report shows that Boko Haram’s presence dates back to at least 2009, when the jihadi group crossed Cameroon’s border after the Maiduguri crackdown and started settling sleeping cells, caches of weapons and using the Far North region as a refuge for its logisticians.…  Seguir leyendo »

In March 2016, Crisis Group Analyst Hans De Marie Heungoup travelled for four weeks into an insecure area only few researchers are given access to: Cameroon’s Far North Region. He was escorted three days by the military between the front-line towns of Ldamang, Mabass, Kolofata, Amchidé and Gansé, before he went on to travel alone across the region: to Maroua, the Minawao refugee camp, Mokolo, Mora, Kousseri and Goulfey. During the four weeks he spoke to a wide range of people, including traditional chiefs, local inhabitants and administration staff, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), vigilante groups, local NGOs, humanitarian actors, academics, the military, former Boko Haram members, former traffickers, and others, some in presence of the military but the vast majority on his own.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reunir una lista de las guerras a las que más atención y apoyo debe prestar la comunidad internacional en 2016 es difícil, y no por buenos motivos. Tras el fin de la guerra fría, durante veinte años, el número de conflictos mortales disminuyó. Había menos guerras y mataban a menos gente. Sin embargo, hace cinco años, esa tendencia positiva se invirtió, y desde entonces cada año hay más conflictos, más víctimas y más personas desplazadas. No parece que en 2016 vaya a mejorar la situación de 2015: lo que está en alza no es la paz, sino la guerra.

Dicho esto, hay algunos conflictos cuya urgencia y cuya importancia son mayores que las de otros.…  Seguir leyendo »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2016

Pulling together a list of the wars most in need of international attention and support in 2016 is challenging for all the wrong reasons. For 20 years after the end of the Cold War, deadly conflict was in decline. Fewer wars were killing fewer people the world over. Five years ago, however, that positive trend went into reverse, and each year since has seen more conflict, more victims, and more people displaced. 2016 is unlikely to bring an improvement from the woes of 2015: It is war — not peace — that has momentum.

That said, there are conflicts whose urgency and importance rise above.…  Seguir leyendo »

La imagen de Camerún como una isla de paz en medio de una región tumultuosa terminó en 2013, cuando la violencia de Boko Haram cruzó la frontera nigeriana. Este grupo está afiliado al llamado Estado Islámico o Daesh, e incluso se rebautizó como Estado Islámico de África Occidental a principios de este año. Pero la forma brutal de yihadismo africano que representa difícilmente se explica por el auge del Estado Islámico en Irak y Siria. De hecho, es en parte una consecuencia del cambiante panorama religioso africano, que afecta y no poco a Camerún.

El sufismo tradicional está siendo desafiado de manera creciente por el ascenso de una ideología islamista radical, sobre todo el wahabismo o su pariente cercano el salafismo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since President Paul Biya came to power in 1982, Cameroon has been a sleepy regime with a soft and aging dictator, a nation all but forgotten in a remote corner of the African continent. This has dramatically changed with the spillover of Boko Haram from Nigeria into Cameroon in 2014 and its transformation into a regional threat. Now there is not a single day without reports of Boko Haram attacks in northern Cameroon. Even before it realized what it meant, the Cameroonian regime had become part of the fight against terrorism. After initially downplaying the problem, Cameroon’s leaders are now discovering the challenges and dangers of this new war.…  Seguir leyendo »

For Cameroonian Roger Jean-Claude Mbede, being gay came with a prison sentence, and ultimately, a death sentence. A few weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to Jean-Claude, my dear friend and client. He died at the age of 35 in his home village of Ngoumou due to complications from a hernia he developed while in prison that never got proper treatment.

Jean-Claude was imprisoned after he sent a text message to another man, which read: “I think I am very much in love with you.” In Cameroon, because of homophobic laws that were personally championed by President Paul Biya, that was enough to be considered a criminal offense, punishable with time in prison.…  Seguir leyendo »