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US announces visa restrictions over Anglophone Crisis

Secretary of state Antony Blinken, on Tuesday announced visa restrictions on individuals the US believes to be “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.”

Antony Blinken reiterated the USA’S call for both the Cameroonian government and separatist armed groups to end the violence and engage in a dialogue without preconditions to peacefully resolve the crisis.

While announcing visa restrictions he also condemned those who undermine peace through engaging in or inciting violence, human rights violations and abuses, and threats against advocates for peace or humanitarian workers.

He did not say which individuals might be affected by the visa restrictions.

The civil war in Anglophone Cameroon is getting into its fifth year, state and rebel forces have refused to engage in serious dialogue while citizens and children suffer in crossfire.

Cameroon’s two western Anglophone regions have been gripped by fighting since 2017 as the rebels try to break away from the predominantly Francophone government. More than 3,500 people have died and 700,000 have been displaced in the violence.

Rights groups accuse the Cameroonian army and English speaking separatist fighters of committing atrocities.

In 2019, the Trump administration ended Cameroon’s preferential trade benefits citing extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations being committed by Cameroonian security forces.

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