OE Watch Commentary: The excerpted article from the website of the French-Language Journal du Cameroun on 20 February discusses the main Anglophone secessionist groups in the ongoing crisis in Cameroon. Cameroon is a country where about 20 percent of the population of 23 million speaks English as the official language and most of them are located in the two regions bordering Nigeria. However, the rest of the country, including the federal government, speaks French as an official language. Since 2016 a growing number of Anglophones have protested against, among other issues, the appointment of Francophones in the education sector in Anglophone areas.
According to the article there are two currents that characterize the Anglophone secessionists: the traditional groups, which have existed since the 1990s, and more recent groups, which have come together only since 2016. The traditional groups include Southern Cameroons Defense Forces (Socadef), which is an armed wing of the Southern Cameroon Youth League. Socadef was formed in 1995 to seek secession for the Anglophones in the region of Ambazonia. The article also states that the group has carried out several attacks with home-made bombs against the Cameroon Defense Forces and has 300 members.
The more recent groups include one called the Vipers whose tactics involve the burning down of public buildings, including colleges, in protest of Francophone influence in the education sphere. Other groups, such as the Tigers of Ambazonia, have assassinated Cameroonian gendarmeries in the Anglophone regions and circulated leaflets in cities or on social networks to spread their message.
The article shows that the resistance to Francophone influence in the Anglophone parts of Cameroon is multi-generational; however, at the same time, the Anglophone rebels do not appear to be particularly well-armed or militarily sophisticated. End OE Watch Commentary (Zenn)
The escalation of violence in the English-speaking areas has brought to light many groups leading the armed struggle. The brewing Anglophone crisis has transformed the North West and South West regions into a vast battleground for various secessionist factions. Two currents characterize the different factions fighting in the conflict between secessionists and Cameroonian defense forces. On the one hand, there are the traditional groups created in the wake of the demands of the 1990s, and the more recent groups which came together in the wake of the October 2016 crisis.
In the first current, Southern Cameroons Defense Forces (Socadef), an armed wing of Ebenezer Akwanga’s Southern Cameroon Youth League (Scyl), is a pioneer. This radical secessionist organization was created in March 1995. The second trend of secessionist factions is made up of groups whose birth dates back to the beginning of the Anglophone crisis in October 2016. Here we find the Vipers. The actions of the Vipers consist mainly in preventing the resumption of classes in English-speaking regions by setting fire to public buildings.