The United States has reiterated its call for dialogue in Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis tasking the government to engage in a meaningful and broad-based dialogue.
The U.S. embassy in Yaounde were reacting to the recent deaths of two members of the Cameroon security apparatus. The Marine was killed in Ekondo-Titi (southwest) on January 14 whiles the gendarme was killed in the town of Wum (northwest) on January 15.
“We urge the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to act with restraint in response to these acts of violence.
“We continue to appeal to all sides to enter into meaningful, broad-based dialogue. Dialogue is the only path towards a resolution of legitimate grievances,” a statement issued early this week read.
The Anglophones of Cameroon feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral grievances morphed into political demands, leading to strikes and riots.
English-speakers account for some 20 percent of the nation’s population of 23 million. The minority dates to the emergence of Cameroon in 1960-61 as France and Britain wound down their colonies in west Africa.
Anglophones have long protested against what they perceive to be a bias in favor the French-speaking majority.
Since November 2016, resentment has fed demands for autonomy or a separate state to which the government has responded with a crackdown, including curfews, raids and restrictions on travel.
The October crackdown in towns and villages along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria caused at least 7,000 people and possibly as many as 20,000 to flee into Nigeria’s Cross Rivers state, where the UN refugee agency is bracing itself for the arrival of 40,000 more.