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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Cameroon MPs debate autonomy for the Anglophone region

Members of parliament in Cameroon are debating whether to grant more autonomy to the country’s Anglophone regions where thousands of people have died in a separatist conflict.

President Paul Biya has recently spoken of granting special status to the English speaking north-west and south-west regions to try to help stem the violence.

Analysts say it is highly unlikely that the government will agree to granting a significant level of autonomy.

Many Anglophone Cameroonians have felt marginalised for decades by a government dominated by French speakers. It boiled over in 2016, when teachers and lawyers started to protest against the use of French in schools and courts.

Following Cameron’s much-vaunted national dialogue, a new law was adopted on Tuesday that means court decisions can be rendered “in any of the official languages, depending on the choice of the litigant and the understanding of all present in court”.

There are sporadic outbreaks of violence involving the military and separatist rebels in the Anglophone regions and most schools there have remained closed for three years. Some 700,000 people have fled their homes.

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