The Canadian, British and United States governments have issued a travel warning to its citizens in respect of the Manyu Department in Cameroon’s southwest region due to tensions between armed groups and law enforcement
The Cameroonian government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary early this week confirmed that an attack by secessionists in the town of Kembong located in the Manyu Division had killed four paramilitary forces known as gendarmes.
“The assailants, ensnared by the measures put in place by our defence and security forces, are now reduced to sporadic attacks carried out by hidden faces and using perfidy,” Tchiroma said.
“The U.S. Embassy in Yaounde has deferred all non-essential travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to Manyu Division of the South West Region and all locations within 10 miles of the Nigerian border in the same region.
“These travel restrictions are due to the potential for violent clashes between separatists and government forces in those areas. U.S. citizens are advised to adjust travel plans accordingly,” the U.S. statement of December 21 read.
On Friday December 22, the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth Office and Canada’s Foreign Affairs office also advised nationals “against all but essential travel to Mamfe in the South West region.”
“The city of Buea (South West region) is calm but tensions remain high in Mamfe (South West region) and Bamenda (North West region)” the U.K. alert read in part.
What began last year as peaceful protests by Anglophone activists against perceived marginalisation by Cameroon’s Francophone-dominated elite has become the gravest challenge yet to President Paul Biya.
The Southwest along with the Northwest region forms the minority English – speaking ‘Anglophone region’ of the French – dominated Central African country. English speakers make up less than a fifth of the population of Cameroon