English-speaking regions of Cameroon have now been without the internet for more than a week after Anglophone teachers, lawyers and students went on strike over alleged bias in favour of Francophones.

Wednesday marked the eighth day since the authorities ordered the country’s telecommunications providers to shut off internet connections to the regions of Northwest and Southwest.

Al Jazeera contacted Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the country’s minister of communications, who pledged to comment on the situation but he has yet to do so.

The internet blackout came after the government outlawed at least two Anglophone groups — Southern Cameroons National Council and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium — and arrested some of their leaders. The groups had been pushing for so-called Ghost Town actions, in which they urge members of the public to stay at home and shops and businesses to shut.

The aim is to peacefully protest against what activists call the marginalisation of the English-speaking regions by government imposing the French language on their schools and courts.

The towns of Bamenda, Yuku, Nkambe and Buea came to a standstill on January 9, according to pictures and videos posted online.

Using hashtag Bring-Back-Our-Internet, many on social media expressed their outrage at the government’s response to the protest.

Protests in the Anglophone regions have been going on for years, but intensified late last year when protests turned violent.

Anglophone teachers, lawyers and students have been on strike since early December with many urging peaceful protests to call for the establishment of a two-state federation.

On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya reportedly signed a decree establishing the National Commission of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in the country.


You Might Also Like