Ambazonia

Along with West Papua, this is perhaps one the lesser-known of the current disputes. However, it’s also one that should be watched very closely. The dispute is centered on the central African country of Cameroon.

In 1884, Germany established a colony in the region that was then captured and divided between Britain and France during the First World War. The British held part was further divided into two administrative districts: the Northern and Southern Cameroons.

When the French-held territory became independent as the Republic of Cameroon, in 1960, the area under British rule held a referendum to decide its future.

While the northern part decided to unite with neighboring Nigeria, the Southern Cameroons opted to merge with Cameroon. This occurred on 1 October 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.

As is so often the case in these situations, the union proved to be unhappy and in 1972 the federation was abandoned in favor of a unitary state. In the decades that followed, resentment grew in the Anglophone region.

And in late 2016 protests broke out that led to a harsh crackdown by the central government. On 1 October 2017, political forces in the region declared independence as the Republic of Ambazonia.

In response, the government launched a military campaign to reassert control. Since then, it’s estimated that the ensuing conflict has cost over 3,000 lives and displaced up to a million people.

While there have been efforts to broker talks between the sides, these have failed to produce any sign of a peace deal. In the meantime, this conflict, one of the most serious active armed disputes in Africa, if not the world, receives remarkably little international attention.

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