UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he would meet President Paul Biya of Cameroon late on Friday to discuss the troubles in the country’s anglophone regions.
Speaking to AFP on Thursday in Bangui, capital of Central African Republic (CAR), his words were “We are going to be able to assess the recent evolution of (the situation of) the anglophone community.”
Guterres is to leave CAR at 1615 GMT on Friday after a four-day visit to the country.
He will make a four-hour stopover in Yaounde where he is to take a commercial flight to Paris. He will use this time to talk with Biya.
“It’s a meeting that I deeply appreciate,” Guterres said, adding that it reflected Cameroon’s “great interest” in working “positively” in the region.
Cameroon has a large anglophone minority which comprises around a fifth of its population of 22 million.
Gathered mainly in two regions; NW and SW regions, many English speakers say they suffer inequality and discrimination, and they have been protesting for over a year.
These protests reached its apex on the 1st of October when activists declared independence for Southern Cameroon, prompting a crackdown by a government firmly opposed to secession.
International monitors say there has been a toll of more than 20 or at least 40 dead – figures, figures that have been disputed by the government.
Guterres said he would also talk with Biya about the influx of displaced people from CAR into Cameroon and his concerns about the crisis in the Lake Chad region triggered by attacks by Boko Haram jihadists.
His trip to Bangui comes in the context of a looming decision by the UN Security Council on whether to renew the mandate, which expires next month, of its 12 500-troop peacekeeping force, MINUSCA, in the conflict-torn CAR.
He is lobbying for the mandate to be renewed and for an additional 900 troops.