The recent abduction follows similar attacks as Anglophone fighters struggle to enforce a school lockdown across the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon.

Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis began three years ago when English-speaking teachers and lawyers went on strike demanding fair working conditions in the country’s Northwest and Southwest regions. They claimed their language and culture was being marginalized by French-speaking legislators and the national government of president Paul Biya. But after the government responded with force to some protests, things have since escalated over the last year to become a full-scale conflict between armed separatists and the Cameroonian army.

Image for article titled The abduction of 78 school students in Cameroon’s Anglophone region could be another Chibok
Image: Reuters

According to human rights groups, no fewer than 400 people have been killed as Cameroonian soldiers battle to squash increasingly bold armed separatists. Last week, an American missionary was killed in crossfire between separatists and the Cameroonian army in Bamenda, each side has blamed the other for the death.

The conflict has also led to the mass internal displacement of over 400,000 people. In the south-west region, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 246,000 people have been internally displaced. Over 21,000 Cameroonians are also living in next door Nigeria as refugees.

Many international organizations, governments and personalities have called on the Biya government to employ dialogue to solve the crisis, but necessary steps for such effective dialogue are yet to be taken.

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