Questions raised over Cameroon security as it plays host to Africa Cup of Nations

Questions have been raised over security in the north and west of Cameroon, as the country hosts the Africa Cup of Nations.

The alarm has been raised following threatening messages sent to the teams in Group F who will feature in the coastal town of Limbé.

Authorities have voiced fears that armed groups could attempt an attack when players from Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia train in Buea, the capital of the Southwest Region. Buea has been seen as a potential target after being hit by anglophones seeking a breakaway state from the French-majority country, and nearby regions have been dragged into the conflict.

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, has also warned of further attacks from militants in his annual New Year’s Day message. In his speech he accused them of killing unarmed civilians and warned of further unrest this year.

Blaise Chamango, head of the NGO Human Is Right, said: “The threats are very serious. The government has stationed heavily armed soldiers at nearly all the crossroads in Buea and Limbé. Security and defence forces are arresting and searching everyone they see in some districts.”

However, despite the concerns the Confederation of Africa Football feel confident the event can continue to go ahead safely. The stadium in Yaoundé, which hosted the opening game between Cameroon and Burkina Faso, will also host the final and is expected to fill the 60,000 seat capacity.

James Mouangue, head of the national human rights commission and a professor of public law, said: “The security measures put in place are exceptional, given the level of risk, and there were no problems when we hosted the African Nations Championship in January 2021.”

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