State Violence, Separatist Agitations, and Population Displacement in Cameroon: Factors Breeding Separatist Agitations in Cameroon

State Violence, Separatist Agitations, and Population Displacement in Cameroon: Factors Breeding Separatist Agitations in Cameroon

Onuoha F. Chukwudi (University of Nigeria, Nigeria) and Okafor Joachim Chukwuma (University of Nigeria, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9627-1.ch008


This chapter interrogates the impacts of state violence and the proliferations of pro-separatist agitations in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon on vulnerable groups as its objective. Through secondary sources of data collection and content analysis, authors observed that the continued interplay of state violence and the various agitations for the independence of Ambazonia by separatist groups accounts for the ongoing displacement of women and children both as internally displaced persons and refugees. Hence, they argued that the unprecedented humanitarian challenges facing these vulnerable groups manifest in the various spheres of confrontations involving the Cameroonian security forces and various armed separatist groups in Southern Cameroon. Tables in this chapter provide links between how various dimensions of the Anglophone crisis affect women and children. This chapter discusses also the factors fuelling separatist agitations, future research directions, solutions and recommendations in resolving the Anglophone crisis in the Republique du la Cameroun.
Chapter Preview


In recent times, the central African state of Cameroon has been grappling with diverse security challenges that present a potent threat to its national stability and development (Konings & Nyamnjoh, 1997, International Crisis Group, 2010). These security challenges include the Boko Haram jihadist sect infiltration in the Far North region that has killed millions of people and forced an estimated hundred thousand Nigerians from the North- eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to flee to Cameroon as refugees (Onuoha, 2010; 2018), the dominance of the political dynasty of President Paul Biya that has continued to undermine the prospects of democratization in Cameroon (Nwosu, 2012; McAllister, 2018; Tamfu, 2018) and, the simmering poverty, unemployment and absence of democratic deliverables in the Anglophone regions (Reach out Cameroon, 2018; Cavalcanti, 2018).

The most immediate of these security challenges is the growing state violence against the rising separatist agitations in the Anglophone regions of North West and South West Cameroon. This has collectively heightened the displacement of the vulnerable groups such as women and children both as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in a neighbouring country like Nigeria (Onuegbu, 2018, Premium Times, 2018). The sustained repressive state policies and actions against the pro-separatist groups in the Southwest and Northwest of Cameroon have within the past few years led to widespread humanitarian crises such as hunger, starvation and massive forced displacement in Anglophone regions (United Nations High Commission on Refugees, 2018). Thus, Nkongho (2017) observes that the government security forces extreme response against the demands of the Anglophone independence agitators served to further radicalize the protesters whose demands have been the creation of an independent state of Ambazonia. The strong response of the centralized government under president Biya can be explained by the nature of the current political system (Krieger, 1994, Munshi, 2018). The audacity of state powers vested on the President by the constitution of Cameroon arising from series of change in the constitutional term limit of the Presidency since 1982 (Eweka, 2016., Dze-Ngwa, 2015., Munshi, 2018., Nna-Emeka Okereke, 2018).

Similarly, Dowdy (2019) reveals that due to the escalating dimensions of Anglophone violence, an estimated 2.3 million people are vulnerable to the conflict. There are about 4.3 million people who require life saving assistance such as food, water, shelter and health care facilities out of the 24 million population of Cameroon. Since October 2016, with an estimated official population of 5 million Anglophone populations, an estimated 437,000 people have been forcefully uprooted from their homes as internally displaced persons in various locations and have found their ways inside the bushes and forests in and around Cameroon. More than 32,000 people have fled into neighbouring Nigeria as refugees (UNHCR, 2018, Premium Times, 2018, United Nations, 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Population Displacement: These are populations in Southern Cameroon that were forcefully uprooted by the crisis. Women and children were affected by the Anglophone crisis both as internally displaced persons within Cameroon and refugees in Nigeria.

State Violence: The deployment of state security forces such as the military, police, intelligence and paramilitary agencies, among others to monitor, suppress or clampdown real threat capable of causing instability within a country through the use monopoly of force in state disposal.

Vulnerable Groups: These are group of persons whom arising from the devastating impacts of violent conflict; lack the capacity from being exposed from danger or threats emanating from such violent conflict. The threats that make these group of persons vulnerable especially women and children are, hunger, starvation, diseases, killings, among others.

Anglophone Crisis: This is the decades of arrest, struggle, rioting, protest of marginalization and desire by the people of English-speaking regions of Cameroon to secede from the Republique du la Cameroun. The crisis between government forces and Separatist groups has over decades led to the deaths, arrest, displacement and exodus of people in the form of refugees from Southern Cameroon into neighboring country like Nigeria.

Humanitarian Crisis: A severe shortage of food, shelter, medical relief for women, children and other categories of persons affected by the Anglophone crisis. These developments have led to hunger, starvation and deaths of women and children in affected areas in southern Cameroon.

Targeted Killings: Deliberate action by the government forces to root out elements it described as having the intention of destabilizing the country or the state. This action by the state especially when targeted a particular groups is dubbed genocide.

Anglophone Separatist Groups: These are non-state actors predominantly populated by the youths of English speaking regions of Southern Cameroon established for the realization of the independence of Southern Cameroon from the French dominated government in Yaoundé christened, the State of Ambazonia.

Separatist Agitation: A condition where individuals or groups usually united by language, culture or common historical antecedents vehemently demands for the self actualization or independence of their separate country because of perceived political and economic exclusion, marginalization and repression.

Insecurity: The condition of fear and tension arising from the routine clash between the government security forces and separatist groups that has led to rising spate of killings, kidnapping, burning of houses, schools and incidentally, have restricted the movement of people from their daily business.

Francophication of Southern Cameroon: This is the deliberate attempts by the government of President Paul Biya to replace English dominated political, legal, educational, and economic and other social structures in Southern Cameroon in line with the French standard and practices.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: