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Senatorial Elections : Movement restricted in Anglophone regions on voting day

Movement has been restricted in the two English-Speaking regions of Cameroon as polls open on Sunday for the Senatorial elections.

Councillors will be going to the polls across the country to elect senators for a five-year mandate in an elected widely expected to be won by the ruling party-the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, CPDM,-which has a greater number of councillors.

It seems to be a smooth ride in the other parts of the country but the security concerns in the two English-Speaking regions of the country has forced local authorities to take measures to counter any incident.

The Governor of the South West Region of Cameroon Bernard Okalia Bilai to that effect suspended the movement of persons and goods in the region from Saturday 8pm to Sunday at the same time.

His counterpart of the North West Region Adolphe Lele LAfrique has taken similar measures suspending movement on election day from 6am to 9pm.

Both authorities justify their decisions by the need « to ensure the smooth organization and conduct of the…Senatorial elections in conformity with the provisions of » the law.

The election is taking place amid security concerns posed by separatist fighters who have engaged in fierce battles with security forces in parts of the region.

The country’s electoral body Elecam on Saturday morning relocated two polling stations in Lebialem and Ndian as a result of recent incidents in those areas.

An Education official, Ivo Leke Tambo was released on Tuesday after spending 48 hours in  captivity in Lebialem where another local authority, the Senior Divisional Officer was injured on Thursday.

Meanwhile the Government announced on Wednesday it had released one Tunisian road constructor and three other Cameroonians from captivity in an operation carried out in Meme Division.

All these incidents have plunged the conduct of the elections in the region into doubt coupled with concillors receiving threats from separatist activists.

The councillors are expected to vote for 70 senators with polling stations opening only in divisional head quarters.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has the prerogative to appoint 30 senators to complete the 100-man house senate in Cameroon which enter only into its second mandate after being put in place in 2003.

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