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Independence movements in Cameroon and Nigeria face state military crack down

Independence movements in Cameroon and Nigeria have been met by strong military crack downs in recent weeks reports the New York Times.

In Nigeria, the Biafra movement seeking independence in the southeast of the country saw Nigeria’s military storm the house of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra movement.

At least six civilians were killed during the military crackdown said supporters of the group. The movement sparked a civil war in the late 60’s after the after declaring a separate state in the late 1960s.

In response to the crackdown the Nigerian Army’s chief of training and operations said the military was targeting criminals and not singling out separatists.

Last month Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari declared the separatist group a terrorist organisation and instructed a military offensive in the south east region that saw helicopters and military personnel descend on large public displays of dissatisfaction with the state.

In Cameroon, English speaking areas in the northwest and southwest of the country saw military crackdowns during protests against what they call discrimination by the French speaking majority. The regions, which have been mobilising in protests for over a year, have started to call for a new nation called Ambazonia.

Last week Cameroon’s government sent soldiers and helicopters to independence demonstrations in English speaking regions and issued a curfew. Amnesty international said it confided the deaths of at least 17 protestors. For four decades Cameroon was split into English and French territories.  

Unification in 1961 saw the territories consolidate into one republic made up of the majority French speaking community which resulted in a rise of tensions between the English speaking community and the majority government.