In a prefectural order signed over the weekend, Engamba Emmanuel Ledoux, Senior Divisional Officer for Fako said the decision is based on “the necessity to maintain peace and order”.
The decision came on the eve of Group D matches of the ongoing Total African Nations Championship (CHAN). Although Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, and Guinea have their matches at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium, the teams are lodged in Buea and Limbe where they have training facilities.
Armed separatists had vowed to disrupt the competition.
Two separatists were killed at the Likomba Bridge in Tiko Subdivision, Fako Division after they burnt down a 14-wheeler brewery truck Friday morning.
Locals say a sustained gun battle between separatists and state forces lasted over two hours on the morning of Friday, January 15, 2021.
Armed separatists are also blamed for burning construction equipment behind the Middle Farms Stadium in Limbe Thursday night.
Following 'bomb' explosions in bars and other thickly populated areas of Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, and its economic chief town, Douala, the administrative head of Fako rolled out security-tightening measures in late November last year.
“With effect from the date of signature of this present order, the entering of persons into public places with bags and other types of luggage is hereby prohibited within Fako Division,” Engamba said in a statement dated November 25, 2020.
Cameroon’s state forces have been battling to dislodge armed separatists who pitched their tents in the North West and South West Regions since Anglophone protests transformed into an armed conflict in 2017.
Corporate demands by Common Law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers led to protests in November 2016. The street demonstrations later morphed into ongoing running gun battles between state forces and armed separatist fighters in the predominantly English-speaking regions, leading to untold destruction of human lives, their habitats, and livelihoods.
Tit-for-tat killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, arsons, maiming, and outright terror have become part of daily lives in some parts of the English-speaking regions.