UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Cameroonian authorities to “continue efforts to resolve the grievances of the English-speaking community,” which has called for secession.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening, Mr. Guterres said he was deeply concerned about the situation in the country, particularly in the light of the recent security incidents in Bamenda (north-west of Cameroon) and Douala, as well as in the English-speaking regions of the north-west and south-west.
Several secession groups planned on Sunday to proclaim symbolically the independence of the English-speaking areas in commemoration of October 1, 1961 which had seen the proclamation of the independence of the western part and the subsequent merger of the two Camerouns.
In the country’s South-West region, for example, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai announced, among other measures, a ban on the movement of people and suspension of inter-city transport between towns and localities under its jurisdiction until Monday.
He also ordered the closure of land and sea borders, drinking places and prohibited the gathering of more than four people in public places, for four days.
Guterres said he was “ready to support” efforts to promote national reconciliation measures, urging the country’s authorities “to promote national reconciliation measures aimed at finding a lasting solution to the crisis, and addressing its underlying causes.”
Guterres also stressed the importance of promoting the unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon, while calling for all parties to refrain from acts likely to lead to an escalation of tensions and violence.
He added that he was “convinced that a genuine and inclusive dialogue between the government and the communities in the south-west and north-west regions is the best way to preserve the unity and stability of the country.”