World

Cameroon denies seeking help over Anglophone separatist conflict

Anglophone separatists, attempting to create a breakaway state dubbed Ambazonia in the country's minority English-speaking regions, said they had noted the recent statement from the government but would not comment further.

Cameroon’s government says it hasn’t asked any country to help solve its conflict with Anglophone separatists. This seems to contradict a statement from Canada that it had been asked to work on a peace process.

It was announced on Monday that the Cameroonian government “has not entrusted any foreign country or external entity with any role of mediator or facilitator to settle the crisis,” a statement which did not specifically name Canada.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in this conflict since it began in 2017. On January 21, Canada’s foreign ministry announced that it had accepted a mandate to mediate a peace process between Cameroonian authorities and some separatist forces in English-speaking regions.

Anglophone separatists, attempting to create a breakaway state dubbed Ambazonia in the country’s minority English-speaking regions, said they had noted the recent statement from the government but would not comment further.

They promised to follow Canada’s statutory negotiating process on January 21.

A message sent to Canada’s foreign ministry press secretary went unanswered for some time.

The U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital, tweeted Monday that it appreciated Canada’s plan to hold talks to end the issue.

The English-speaking minority in Cameroon has felt marginalised by the French-speaking majority ever since the country gained independence.

Since 2017, secessionist groups in the two English-speaking regions have been at war with government troops, causing the deaths of thousands and the displacement of roughly 800,000. Meanwhile, the Canadian government reports that due to the closure of numerous schools, around 600,000 children do not have complete access to education.

The problem was not resolved despite a national dialogue in 2019 that accorded special status to the two Anglophone areas.

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