AFRICA/CAMEROON - Presidential elections: abstention and violence in the English-speaking provinces

Monday, 8 October 2018 elections  

Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - Cameroon voted on Sunday 7 October in a presidential election marked by deadly violence in one of the country's English-speaking regions. Security forces shot dead three suspected separatists who had allegedly fired at passersby from a motorcycle in Bamenda, the capital of the northwest province.
In the English-speaking provinces where just a year ago a separatist group symbolically proclaimed their independence with the name of Ambazonia (see Fides 2/10/2017), the rate of abstention to vote was very high. In a year of clashes between separatist groups hiding in forests and law enforcement agencies, the latter lost 175 men while over 400 civilians have been killed.
The vote was held regularly in the rest of the Country. The result is expected in a week. Among the candidates there is outgoing President Paul Biya, 85, in power since 1982, who is running for a seventh term.
In view of protests and post-electoral violence, the creation of a national vigilance committee was announced, which aims to mobilize thousands of young people throughout Cameroon. Its founder Nga Stéphane Geordane II claims to have received alarming information on the planning of the destabilization of Cameroon, with appeals launched by some local politicians to the UN for the United Nations to intervene in the Country. "Their goal - says Geordane II - is to allow the international community to intervene to destabilize Cameroon". According to some observers, however, these alarmist intentions aim to weaken and put the opposition in bad light in anticipation of the re-election of the outgoing President. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/10/2018)