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As Schools Reopen, Cameroon Orders Deployment Of Special Forces Against Separatists

Schools have in the past been targets of attacks by Anglophone armed groups in the restive English-speaking regions.

Cameroon’s head of state, President Paul Biya, has ordered the Minister of Armed Forces to deploy special units of the armed forces to the restive English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions.

The order is contained in a letter from the Minister of State Secretary General in the Presidency of the Republic, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, to the Minister of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo.

“I have the honour to inform you that Mr. President of the Republic has given his very high accord for the deployment of a detachment of Special Forces in the theatre of operations of the second and fifth inter-army military regions,” the correspondence reads in part.

The Special Forces include the Rapid Intervention Battalion, popularly known by the French acronym BIR, and the Multipurpose Intervention Group of the gendarmerie.

Their deployment comes at a time when children are resuming school activities amidst threats of violence by Anglophone separatists.

By deploying the Special Forces, the government intends to put in place the necessary security measures in schools, which have in the past been targets of attacks by Anglophone armed groups in the two restive English-speaking regions.

According to the international non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Watch, the Anglophone conflict has already resulted in the deaths of about 6,000 persons and provoked a major humanitarian crisis occasioning the displacement of over 600,000 persons. More than 77,000 of the displaced were forced to take refuge mostly in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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