Update June 2023

In a rare attack suspected separatists targeted a military post in the village of Matouke, about 40km from Douala, killing at least six people-including one civilian-and injuring many others, according to Cameroonian authorities. This attack is the first time anglophone rebels have gotten so close to the city since the conflict broke out in 2017. The Cameroonian government responded by increasing the military presence on the border between the Littoral region and the English-speaking Southwest and asked civilians to denounce suspected fighters in their towns and villages.[1] Residents of Matouke were left feeling unnerved and insecure. [2] A group from the Ambazonia Liberation Council claimed responsibility for the attack they said in retaliation to the army having killed around seven separatists the previous week.[3]

Over 30 women were abducted by separatists in the northwestern region of the country and released days later in the country’s English-speaking region, some said to have been severely tortured. According to local authorities, they had been protesting violence and taxes imposed by separatists.[4] Kidnappings have been on the rise for the last five years and mass kidnappings are now more common, analysts suggest this is a new fundraising method in a context in which the government has imposed tighter controls on money flows. Activists believe women are being deliberately targeted due to the crucial role they play in crisis resolution in traditional and tribal societies in Cameroon.[5]

Cameroon celebrated its National Day on 20 May, activists and religious and traditional rulers called for an end to the anglophone separatist conflict which has killed more than 6,000 people since it began. Traditional leaders strongly emphasised the need to put an end to the ongoing hate speech between English and French speakers ongoing among communities and on local radio and TV stations.[6]

[1] VOA, “Cameroon Separatists Stage Attack Near French-Speaking City of Douala,” 2 May 2023, https://allafrica.com/stories/202305030060.html

[2] ADF Magazine, “Anglophone Separatists Step Up Attacks In Cameroon,” 16 May 2023, https://adf-magazine.com/2023/05/anglophone-separatists-step-up-attacks-in-cameroon/

[3] Journal du Cameroon, “Cameroun-Moungo : quatre morts dans une attaque séparatiste » 2 May 2023, https://journalducameroun.com/cameroun-moungo-quatre-morts-dans-une-attaque-separatiste/

[4] RFI, “Cameroon: Women Kidnapped by Separatists in Anglophone Cameroon Released,” 25 May 2023, https://allafrica.com/stories/202305260007.html

[5] DW, “Cameroon: How Abductions Finance Separatists in Cameroon,” 25 May 2023, https://allafrica.com/stories/202305260115.html

[6] VOA, “Cameroon Calls for Peace, Reconciliation Ahead of Country’s National Day,” 18 May 2023, https://allafrica.com/stories/202305190071.html