On June 6 this year, another group of African children marched in Cameroon’s capital city Yaoundé, demanding the right to live normal lives, without the fear of violence. It is estimated that nearly a million children in the country’s Anglophone regions have been kept out of school for five years by a boycott enforced by separatist fighters. The various non-state armed separatist groups fighting the Cameroon regime demand that English-speaking parents stop their offspring from attending schools teaching a curriculum determined by Cameroon’s government. The separatists allege that institutions and representatives of Yaoundé are an occupying force in their territory, which they seek to make an independent country they call “Ambazonia.”
The school boycott is part of a wider separatist campaign against the Francophone-dominated regime of President Paul Biya, 89, who has been in power since 1982. Freedom House ranks Cameroon’s elections as neither free nor fair, and Transparency International considers its administration to be among the world’s most corrupt. In addition, Amnesty International has recorded dozens of instances of peaceful opposition figures being imprisoned.