With elections scheduled for October 7, a two-year separatist struggle has resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians, many homeless, and has raised questions about stability not only in Cameroon but in West and Central Africa. What does the crisis mean for our work?
How can we understand and continue to engage productively with our partners in the region?
The brownbag dialogue (with light refreshments) will feature a Cameroonian journalist (by Skype) who will provide a first-hand analysis and an opportunity for media and international development organizations in metro Denver to learn:
-What is going on and why
-How is the situation reported by global media, if at all
- What is missing in the news about the crisis
-What implications the crisis has for our work Background:
The African nation of Cameroon has been in crisis for almost two years. A protest started by Anglophone teachers and lawyers in November 2016 against government imposition of the French language in historically English-language institutions in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country turned the once peaceful country into a war zone.
In recent weeks the situation has gotten worse. TV images have shown whole villages razed to the ground with civilians fleeing for safety into other parts of Cameroon. Hundreds have died since January 2017, including government forces killed while battling the separatists who want the formation of an independent Ambazonia Republic for Anglophones.
Meanwhile thousands are camped out as refugees in neighboring Nigeria. The U.S. Department of State issued an advisory against travel to the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country considered the epicenter of the struggle.
There are calls for all sides—the Cameroon government, as well as separatists—to come together and find a solution. With presidential elections scheduled to take place October 7, many worry the situation could deteriorate further if incumbent president Paul Biya, 85, wins another seven-year term in office.