THE ANGLOPHONE WAR - SOUTH WEST CAMEROON ~
Since mid 2017, the South Western region of Cameroon has been plunged into turmoil and instability between the English and French speakers in what is now commonly known as the 'Anglophone War'.
It all started following years of governmental neglect that eventually led to mass protests directed at the government's alleged failure to give enough recognition to the English legal and education systems in the Anglophone region.
The government was accused of relying heavily on people trained in the French legal and educational tradition to work in key posts and generally marginalizing Cameroon's English-speaking minority, who make up about 20% of the population.
As tension grew, some of the more active organizers declared independence. On 1 October 2017 a protest sprang up involving local lawyers (wearing judicial wigs) and teachers wearing suits, immediately led the government to dismiss the protestors and the armed groups as "terrorists" then set about 'declaring war' on the those seeking an 'Ambazonia' state and independence. (The name Ambazonia comes from Ambas Bay, the area of a settlement of freed slaves which is commonly regarded as the boundary between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon).
Following those initial protests and during much of 2018 to date, hundreds of villages have been torched and thousands of innocent civilians have died in military sweeps who search for armed Anglophone militias. The vast government banana, coca and rubber have been forced to close as government paid workers fled following local militia intimidation.
In retaliation, the military and police tactics have been described as ‘brutal and deadly’ as villages are attacked. In turn, many of these rural inhabitants have fled far into the sticky humid 'bush' - Cameroon's vast tropical forests seeking safety. Here they live in terrible conditions, with no healthcare and limited food supplies. Ongoing attacks, disease, snakebites and the oppressive rainy seasons have made life hell for those caught in the middle of this worsening crisis.