Cameroon

Douala (AFP) Separatists in an English-speaking part of Cameroon have kidnapped a former top judge, a source said Monday, marking a fresh escalation in the troubled region. Martin Mbeng had retired last year as vice president of the court of appeal in the Southwest Region, which with the neighbouring Northwest Region is in the grip of violent unrest. “Mbeng is in the hands of the supporters of secession,” lawyer Agbor Nkongho, a friend of the judge and head of a campaign group called the Centre for Human Rights and DemocracyRead More
Douala (AFP) Twelve European tourists have been freed after being taken hostage in western Cameroon, where anglophone militants are campaigning for an independent state, the government said on Wednesday. The group of seven Swiss and five Italians “were taken hostage by a band of armed terrorists” in the Southwest Region before being rescued by troops on Monday in a “special operation,” the communications ministry said in a statement. Separately, six municipal councillors in the neighbouring Northwest Region — another seat of anglophone unrest — were also released in operations thatRead More
Yaoundé (AFP) Five Cameroonian soldiers have been killed in an attack on a military post in the far north of the country, sources told AFP on Tuesday. The five, one of whom was an officer, were killed on Monday night in the village of Sagme, close to the Nigerian border and the Lake Chad region, according to relatives and local sources. Three other soldiers were wounded. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings but the area has seen many incursions by the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram in theRead More
Douala (AFP) In Cameroon’s port of Douala, corruption, bureaucratic red tape, overpriced services and a growing backlog have combined to put a major drag on cargo trade through central Africa’s largest harbour. More than 95 percent of Cameroon’s maritime traffic transits through Douala, a sprawling hub that serves as the main gateway for landlocked Chad and Central African Republic. But the procedures for clearing goods are a permanent headache, and very little gets done without greasing palms with extra cash, traders say. “There is high-level corruption at Douala port,” saysRead More
Yaoundé (AFP) Senate elections took place in Cameroon Sunday, as tensions continued to soar in the French-majority country’s anglophone regions where separatist rebels have been fighting government forces for several months. Senate elections do not take place by universal suffrage in the West African nation. Some 10,000 municipal councillors across Cameroon are voting for 70 members of the upper house for a duration of five years. Appointees to the 30 remaining seats will be named later by President Paul Biya. His party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC), already holdsRead More
Yaounde (Cameroon) (AFP) A government official was killed and a district administrator wounded Thursday in an ambush blamed on anglophone separatists in western Cameroon, a human rights activist said. The attack hit a convoy carrying a government official responsible for land ownership issues in part of the Southwest, who was killed. The area’s prefect survived the attack but was injured, the activist said. The report was confirmed by sources in the security services, but the government in Yaounde would neither confirm nor deny it. Unrest blamed on armed separatists hasRead More
Douala (AFP) Talking fast and dreaming big, William Elong shows off the first “made in Cameroon” drone at his sixth-floor workshop in downtown Douala, minutes from the economic capital’s Atlantic seafront. The 25-year-old, known as a high-flyer after being named one of Forbes’ most promising young Africans under 30, is enthusing about his new unmanned aerial drones and keen to promote his company and Africa as a place where IT and new tech can flourish. We must “get out of the Afro-centric vision of business” to “understand that when oneRead More
Yaoundé (AFP) Drivers in one of Cameroon’s restive English-speaking provinces have been banned from driving at night for a month, as tensions run high between government forces and separatists. Vehicles in five of the Southwest Region’s six districts are not allowed on the road between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am (1800 GMT and 0500 GMT) with the exception of ambulances as well as state and police cars, according to an official statement seen by AFP late Friday. The renewable ban, which entered into force at the start of the month,Read More
Yaoundé (AFP) An administrative official was snatched over the weekend from one of Cameroon’s restive English-speaking regions in the second such kidnapping in a fortnight, state media reported on Monday. The man was taken by armed men near Batibo, which lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the city of Bamenda, and the same area from which another local official was taken on February 11. “The regional representative for social affairs for the northwest region has been missing since Saturday. He was taken while in his car in the BatiboRead More
Bamenda (Cameroon) (AFP) Cameroon’s main opposition party on Saturday selected deputy leader Joshua Osih as its presidential candidate to challenge the long-ruling President Paul Biya in elections later this year. Osih was elected at a Social Democratic Front (SDF) party congress in the western city of Bamenda after veteran leader and perennial presidential hopeful John Fru Ndi ruled out running on Thursday. Osih, a former businessman who hails from the troubled anglophone southwest of the country, told excited activists that he would mobilise the party in all 366 local authoritiesRead More