In their report titled, “A turn for the worse: Violence and human rights violation in Anglophone Cameroon,” which is based on in-depth interviews with over 150 victims and eye-witnesses, and material evidence including satellite images, the organization documents how general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.
“People in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions are in the grip of a deadly cycle of violence. Security forces have indiscriminately killed, arrested and tortured people during military operations which have also displaced thousands of civilians. Their heavy-handed response will do nothing to calm the violence - in fact it is likely to further alienate Anglophone communities and fuel further unrest,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy Director for West and Central Africa.
The rights group also said armed separatists in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have stabbed to death and shot military personnel, burned down schools and attacked teachers, while security forces have tortured people, fired on crowds and destroyed villages, in a spiral of violence that keeps getting more deadly, Amnesty International said today.
“For their part, armed separatists have killed dozens of members of the security forces. They also carried out attacks designed to strike fear amongst the population, going as far as burning down schools and targeting teachers who did not enforce the boycott.”
The Anglophone regions of the Cameroon – the South-West and North-West - make up approximately 20% of the country’s population. Many of their grievances date back to the early 1960s, when these regions were included in the newly established, mostly French-speaking, Republic of Cameroon.
Violence and unrest escalated in late 2016 after a series of strikes and protests against what teachers, lawyers and students viewed as further discrimination against Anglophones. Between 22 September and 1 October 2017, large-scale protests were organized across the Anglophone regions to symbolically proclaim the independence of a new state of “Ambazonia.”