Cameroon: Gridlock continues between separatists and Yaoundé

Protestors hold flags and chant slogans during a demonstration against the government of Cameroon outside an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)


The Africa Report  | There is no end in sight to the crisis in Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions despite initial ceasefire talks with rebels seeking independence from the government in Yaoundé.

The Cameroonian government launched secret talks with jailed Anglophone leader Ayuk Tabe and nine others at the beginning of July in an effort to negotiate a ceasefire with separatists after a four-year bloody civil war that the United Nations says has killed at least 2,000 people.

But the crisis is unlikely to be resolved until all the major forces get around the negotiating table and hammer out a deal that responds to the rebels concerns about the English-speaking regions’ marginalisation and governance.

Little progress is currently being made. Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute and secretary general of the presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh are jockeying for influence over the peace talks, which has contributed to their stalemate.

In the meantime, civil society groups have been putting pressure on national and international actors to take into account the human suffering that the conflict has caused and to push for peace talks to progress.

Talking with Tabe

Tabe, the president of the unrecognised Federal Government of the Republic of Ambazonia, and the nine who participated are serving life in prison sentences for what the government has called terrorist-related activities.

The government’s approach shows that this is a political crisis, not a military one, a point that seems to be penetrating the corridors of power in Yaounde, according to Christopher Fomunyoh, regional director of the US-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

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