Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is facing one of the biggest threats in his 35 years in power as a separatist movement in the country’s English speaking regions gains ground.
Soldiers shot dead at least eight people and wounded others in the two English-speaking regions recently, the anniversary of Anglophone Cameroon’s independence from Britain
The strife began in November when English-speaking teachers and lawyers in the Northwest and Southwest regions, frustrated with having to work in French, took to the streets calling for reforms and greater autonomy.
The thousands who protested around the country were no longer calling for reform, but for a separate state for Cameroon’s nearly five million English speakers.
Biya openly criticised the protests in a statement on Twitter following Sunday’s violence.
Human rights groups have raised concerns about increasing repression under President Biya, while the true size and influence of the independence movement remains hard to gauge.