Cameroon’s Caught Up In An Anglophone Hybrid War

The West-Central African nation of Cameroon is engaged in an escalating War on Terror against Anglophone separatists.

AmbazoniaLong-serving President Paul Biya declared over the weekend that “I think that things are now clear to everyone. Cameroon is the victim of repeated attacks by a band of terrorists claiming to be part of a secessionist movement”, thereby declaring a War on Terror against the so-called “Ambazonia” project that some people are trying to construct along the country’s northwestern and southwestern borderlands. The brief background into all of this is that modern-day Cameroon is actually the amalgamation of French Cameroon, which is the majority of its territory, and British Southern Cameroons, which joined the former following a referendum after independence. Unified Cameroon existed as a federal state for 11 years but was then transitioned into a unitary one, with this change lying at the heart of the dispute by giving the Anglophone population in the former British colonized corner of the country an historic administrative basis for justifying their agitations.

Perceived asymmetries aside about the rights and representation of the minority Anglophone speakers compared to their majority Francophone countrymen, the fact of the matter is that no political campaign – no matter how supposedly legitimate – should ever utilize acts of violence against civilians and state authorities, though that’s exactly what the militarized supporters of “Ambazonia” have done and which is why they’re rightly designated as terrorists by the government. The problem, as it usually happens to be, is that the West doesn’t recognize Cameroon’s War on Terror as such, but has thus far mostly reported on the escalating violence of the past year as being due to the state’s crackdown on so-called “protesters”, refusing to condemn the terrorist acts of violence against civilians and therefore implicitly extending normative and political support for “Ambazonia”. The explanation for this is somewhat Machiavellian, but it has to do with the US’ desire to pressure Africa’s most populous and second-largest oil exporter of Nigeria that’s located right next to the Cameroonian conflict space.

It’s in Washington’s grand strategic interests to control one of the continent’s rising Great Powers, and this can best be achieved by crafting the external and internal conditions for forcing Nigeria to “federalize” into a de-facto patchwork of internal partitions, which in the country’s case might be somewhat inevitable due to the socio-political contradictions and history of violence between north and south. Furthermore, while northern Nigeria is battling Boko Haram, southern Nigeria is experiencing a low-intensity return to its civil war-era violence in the so-called “Biafra” region, waged – just like in neighboring “Ambazonia” – by criminal groups through terrorist means. Given that the “Ambazonians” are Anglophones and “Biafra” – just like all of Nigeria – officially speaks the same language, there’s a chance that the two terrorist-separatist movements could combine with one another across the Cameroonian-Nigerian border just like Daesh did across the Iraqi-Syrian one in catalyzing a regional crisis and destabilizing both fragile states at the same time, which would aid the US in dividing and ruling them to the detriment of China’s Silk Road interests in the region.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Dec 8, 2017:


DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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