Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis: Red Dragons and Tigers – the rebels fighting for independence
Cameroon has been in the news regularly over the past 12 months, mostly due to its ongoing problems with separatist violence, new militias, and political issues in the run-up to elections on Sunday. Few, however, are familiar with the context or actors. In short, there has been a surge in violence surrounding conflict between the country’s anglophone areas (comprising around 20% of the population) and its francophone areas. New militias like the Red Dragons, Tigers, and the Amazonia Defense Forces have formed in the English-speaking areas of the country and are practicing classical rural insurgency techniques that have made the areas “ungovernable” according to analysts. Around 10 separatist groups are currently in operation and have gained control over a “significant proportion of rural areas and main roads,” according to the International Crisis Group. While their numbers are small, they enjoy high morale and support from their areas of operation that has made attempts to capture them unsuccessful. The conflict grew out of protests following frustration over the government’s lack of recognition of English education and legal systems in the English-speaking areas. On Sunday, the country will head to the polls, where the incumbent is expected to extend his 36 years in office.