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RETRO 2018: Cameroon, One of the Most Peaceful Countries in Africa Facing Destabilization

04.01.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Cameroon, also known as Africa in miniature, is one of the few countries in Africa that have been applauded for maintaining peace and stability despite the cultural differences of the people living in it. Cameroon is also the only bilingual country in Africa, with a hundred and fifty (150) ethnic groups living peacefully on a surface area of about 475,444km2.

Cameroon gained independence from France 1961 and united with the former British Southern Cameroon on October 1, 1961. Apart from the riots of May 26th 1990 and February 2008, the government and the citizens have managed to maintain peace and stability in the country despite the cultural differences, unlike other countries like Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa and many others.

HOW CAMEROON HAS BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN PEACE AND STABILITY

Capitalizing on national unity

Cameroonians are proud of the fact that they are able live as together peacefully despite their cultural differences. As a result, Cameroonians treat each other like extended family members. Though few tribes in Cameroon consider themselves as superiors to the other tribes, the majority outnumbers them and the discrimination is not very obvious. In this light, those who are able to live together believe that unity is strength, thus striving to make peace reign in all circumstances. Cameroonians celebrate their National Day on May 20th. Cameroonians also celebrate their unity and oneness on this day.

Protecting personal interest

Cameroonians have investments out of their regions of origin, especially the Bamilikes. Others have married from different tribes and have families all over the country. Any form of conflict will be very detrimental to those who have businesses. Intermarriages also reduces conflicts because it will be like fighting against a family member.

Also most Cameroonians are contented with the peaceful state of the country despite the hardship and high unemployment rate. Many people say they will not want a war to start in Cameroon because they do not want to get to the level where Sudan and other war-torn African countries are. It is also very common to hear Cameroonians, especially the men say that they do not have any problem with the state of the country, as long as they have food on their tables and their beer to drink.

Effective and brutal military intervention

The military is one of the most effective tool used by the Cameroon government to crackdown any form of uprising. The effective and somewhat brutal working method of the arm forces in Cameroon is a source of fear which kills the thought of a protest in Cameroonians. The memory of the events of May 1990 and February 2008 are still very fresh in the minds of Cameroonians and they do not what to live the situation again.

What went wrong?

For the past two years, there have been significant and violent uprisings in Cameroon, especially in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, which may strip Cameroon of her crown of most peaceful country in Africa. These threats of destabilization comes as a result of the Anglophone crisis and also the threats from Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country

The Anglophone problem came about because of the feeling of discontent, as a result of the marginalization and poor representation of Anglophones in institutions in Cameroon. The riot which started as a sit down strike quickly escalated to violence between the English speaking Cameroonians who stand for separation from the other part of Cameroon and the military.

Unfortunately, this has caused Cameroon to lose more than the title “most peaceful country in Africa”, as many people; separatist, military and civilians have lost their lives, about 241,000 internally displaced persons. Thousands have also run to neighbouring Nigeria for refuge.

Recently, such violence extended to the Western region of the country, in a village called Bangourain, where gunmen attacked, burned houses and killed one person. The December 23rd attack was the second attack in a period of one month.

Such sporadic attacks are very frequent in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, making it difficult for the military to track and quell them down effectively.

The government needs to find a solution to these problems because the situation is going from bad to worse. Apart from the loss of lives and property, the risk of an eminent civil war is high.

Article from AFRIC Editorial.

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