Political entity proclaimed by Cameroon's Anglophone separatists / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Ambazonia, alternatively the "Federal Republic of Ambazonia" or "State of Ambazonia", is a political entity proclaimed by Anglophone separatists who are seeking independence from Cameroon. The separatists claim that Ambazonia should consist of the Northwest Region and Southwest Region of Cameroon. Since 2017, Ambazonian rebels are in an armed conflict with the Cameroonian military, in what is known as the Anglophone Crisis, setting up a government-in-exile and capturing some territory. No country has recognized Ambazonia's existence as of 2023.
Until 1961, the territory of these regions was a British trust territory, Southern Cameroons, while the rest of Cameroon was a French trust territory, French Cameroon. At independence, a plebiscite was held, and voters in Southern Cameroons opted to join Cameroon as a constituent state of a federal republic. Over time, the power of the central government, dominated by Francophones, expanded at the expense of the region's autonomy. Many inhabitants identify as Anglophones and resent what they perceive as discrimination and efforts to eliminate Anglophone legal, administrative, educational, and cultural institutions by the Cameroonian government.
In 2016 and 2017, a widespread protest movement was met with a violent government crackdown, which led to rioting and violence against security forces and, in 2017, a unilateral declaration of independence by Ambazonian leaders. The violence developed into a guerrilla war, and as of 2023[update], clashes continue, with population centers and strategic locations largely controlled by the government engaged in counterinsurgency actions, with swathes of more remote, rural areas controlled by separatist militias and used to launch guerrilla attacks. Ambazonian forces have struggled to form a united front, and internecine conflicts have hampered efforts to negotiate with Cameroon or establish control over the various militia groups engaged in the fighting. Ongoing violence has led to widely reported human rights abuses by both sides, including indiscriminate killing of civilians, torture, rape and gender-based crimes, and unjustified detentions and kidnappings.