Security Forces on High Alert Ahead Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon

After overcoming fears of postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the AFCON which is set to commence on January 9th now faces security issues.

Before now, the Cameroonian authorities have been battling with separatist gunmen in the west and jihadist raiders in the north of the country. There are fears that militants will seize the occasion to launch attacks.

Security forces in the west are on high alert after armed groups sent threatening messages to teams in Group F, gathering Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia.

The four teams are scheduled to play in the coastal town of Limbe, and their training site is Buea, a hotspot of separatist unrest.

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Buea is the capital of the Southwest Region, which with the neighbouring Northwest Region is in the grip of violence sparked by a bid by Cameroon’s anglophone minority to secede from the French-majority country.

Security forces deployed massively in Limbe

After years of frustration at perceived discrimination, separatists declared a “Federal Republic of Ambazonia” in October 2017.

The entity, which has no international recognition, is based on the former British Southern Cameroons, which joined Cameroon after the French colony gained independence in 1960.

More than 3,500 people have died and more than 700,000 have fled their homes. Rights monitors say atrocities and abuses have been committed by both sides.

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