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More anti-government protests expected as government faces third major security challenge

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More anti-government protests expected as government faces third major security challenge

cameroon protest Maurice Kamto
cameroon protest Maurice Kamto
Photo: Reuters

Despite being banned by authorities, renewed protests are expected in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, today.

On Monday, opposition leader and self-declared president Maurice Kamto was arrested for coordinating anti-government demonstrations attended by thousands of people calling for President Paul Biya to stand down.

Mr Biya has ruled Cameroon since 1982 but contested last October’s election just the same, reportedly securing 71% of the vote. The opposition, led by the now-imprisoned Maurice Kamto, insists the election was rigged and has held sporadic protests ever since.

The demonstrations add to the significant security challenges faced by Cameroon’s government. Since 2010, the military has battled Boko Haram in the country’s north—a fight that has killed 20,000 people and displaced more than two million. Since then, the English-speaking community in the northwest announced its intention to secede from Cameroon, sparking sporadic violence.

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A third struggle for power with Mr Kamto and his supporters threatens to overwhelm the state’s security forces, particularly if the movement grows. Indeed, President Biya ordered elite military units away from the frontline with Boko Haram to put down the Anglophone separatists—a third front in Cameroon’s urban centres may prove too much.

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