U.S. Imposes Visa Restrictions on Cameroon

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken disembarks his plane as he arrives for his visit to San Jose, Costa Rica, June 1, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool

The United States has stepped up pressure for a peaceful resolution to Cameroon’s conflict between state forces and English-speaking rebels on Monday, imposing visa restrictions on individuals believed to be undermining efforts to end the crisis.

Cameroon’s two western Anglophone regions have been fighting since 2017 as rebels try to break away from the predominantly Francophone government. More than 3,500 people have died and 700,000 have been displaced in the violence.

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken while announcing the visa sanctions, said the United States is deeply concerned by the continued insecurity while calling for both sides to negotiate for peace.

He said in a statement that the “… decision reflects (our) commitment to advance a dialogue to peacefully resolve the Anglophone crisis and support respect for human rights.”

He did not say which individuals might be affected by the visa restrictions.

Rights groups accuse both sides of committing atrocities. While the government typically dismisses these accusations, it has, in some cases, subsequently arrested soldiers and accused them of being involved in killings and torture.

In 2019, the Trump administration ended Cameroon’s preferential trade benefits citing extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations committed by Cameroonian security forces.

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