Cameroon’s elections held amid boycott, violence

Cameroon’s elections held amid boycott, violence

In Cameroon, polls closed on Sunday in an election overshadowed by a partial opposition boycott and separatist violence that displaced hundreds of thousands in the region.

The elections were the first in seven years after two postponements and reports indicate a poor turnout.

The main opposition party, the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), refused to field a single candidate. The boycott all but guarantees a majority win for Biya’s People’s Democratic Movement.

The other large opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, did not take part in the boycott, raising criticism on the part of the MRC.

The English-speaking regions where there has been violent unrest for several years, clashes were reported in the town of Muyuka and witnesses reported hearing gunfire in the city of Buea and Kuma town.

Earlier in the week, separatist fighters in the Anglophone heartlands ordered a lockdown and some residents fled their homes for fear of possible confrontation between the militants and security forces.

In the past months, the separatist militias have openly targeted candidates standing for the SDF, even though the English-speaking regions have traditionally been a stronghold of the party.

Since the end of 2019, nearly 40 SDF members who expressed interest in running in the elections have been abducted by separatists, who say they won’t release them until after the elections.

Three campaign offices have also been burned down.

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