Political development and trends as the Southern Cameroons situation continues to deteriorate
On 2 July in Cameroon, at the request of its President, Paul Biya, the National Assembly extended the mandate of all Members of Parliament for one year, beginning 29 October 2018, thereby postponing scheduled legislative elections. Local elections were also postponed to 2019 by a presidential decree, citing challenges in organizing the presidential, legislative and local elections simultaneously. The presidential election took place on 7 October. The electoral management body noted that the turnout was particularly low in the North-West and South-West regions. According to the final results announced by the Constitutional Council on 22 October, the President was re-elected with 71.28 per cent of the vote. The voter turnout rate was 53.8 per cent.
The security situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon continued to deteriorate. Sporadic fighting between security forces and armed groups was reported throughout the reporting period. On 12 July, the convoy of the Minister for Defence was attacked on two separate occasions near Kumba in the South-West region. On the night of 28 to 29 July, an armed group attacked a prison in Ndop in the North-West region, resulting in the escape of 163 inmates. On 26 September, armed individuals also attacked a prison in Wum in the North-West region, leading to the escape of 80 inmates.
On 5 November, nearly 80 students and staff from a secondary school in Bamenda, in the North-West region, were kidnapped. All of the students were released the following day. During the reporting period, there were reports of sexual violence perpetrated by both security forces and armed groups. In response, “gender desks” were established at police stations in the South-West region in an effort to establish a safe and confidential reporting process on sexual and gender-based violence and related crimes.
On 11 October, religious leaders of the Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities in the English-speaking regions held a meeting in preparation for an “Anglophone General Conference” scheduled to be held in Buea, in the South-West region, on 21 and 22 November, but which was later postponed. At the same meeting, they reiterated their appeal for the cessation of military and insurgent operations in the English-speaking regions.
Culled from reliefweb.int