Cameroon. In January, Maurice Kamto, leader of the opposition party Movement for Cameroon’s Rebirth (MRC), was arrested by police. Kamto became second in last year’s presidential election, won by the aged Paul Biya, president since 1982. Kamto refused to accept the election results and urged his supporters to protest. Two days before the arrest, MRC supporters demonstrated in the port city of Douala, killing at least three people. On the same day, over 100 people were arrested in regime-critical protests around the country.
In February, Kamto and 28 other MRC supporters were indicted for rioting. In July, Amnesty International raised an alarm that 59 of those arrested have been subjected to torture, including in the form of stings with wooden sticks, batons and cables. In September, MRC’s deputy party chairman, Mamadou Mota, was sentenced to two years in prison for participating in a revolt among prisoners in a prison in the capital, Yaoundé. They were imprisoned waiting to be brought to trial for riots in connection with the protests earlier this year. In October, Kamto and several other MRC members were released in connection with the release of over 300 other prisoners. These had been arrested for participation in the separatist uprising that broke out in the English-speaking parts of the country in the fall of 2017.
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In February, unknown perpetrators burned down a hospital in the town of Kumba, which is located in the English-speaking Southwest region. The deed was carried out on National Youth Day, which is celebrated on February 11. On the same date in 1961, the referendum was held which led to the unification of parts of British Cameroon with French Cameroon.
In August, the leaders of the English-speaking separatists, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and nine others were sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism and separatism. In October 2017, the outbreak Republic of Ambazonia was announced with Ayuk Tabe as President. Around the month of September – October, a national dialogue was held between the government and some of the separatist leaders (others chose not to participate). The talks led to a proposal that the two English-speaking regions should be given increased autonomy, including in the form of increased taxation rights and a re-establishment of the traditional leaders. In addition, the governors of the regions will be appointed by regional elections instead of being appointed by the government in Yaoundé. The proposal was rejected by radical separatists who demand full independence. In December, Parliament’s lower house approved the proposal for special status for the English-speaking regions. For this to go through, the proposal must also be approved by the Senate.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Cameroon in 2019 was 25,876,269, ranking number 52 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.620% yearly, and the population density was 54.7405 people per km2.