Cameroon president vows 'firm hand and dialogue' for peace

Cameroonian President Paul Biya. (File, AFP)
Cameroonian President Paul Biya. (File, AFP)

President Paul Biya, who will seek reelection next week, told supporters on Saturday that "a firm hand and dialogue" are needed to quell the violence in Cameroon's English-speaking regions.

Hundreds of civilians and dozens of security forces are understood to have been killed in the majority French-speaking country's anglophone northwest and southwest this year.

In October 2017, radical anglophone leaders declared a "Republic of Ambazonia" in the two English-speaking regions which were incorporated into francophone Cameroon in 1961.

"To restore peace in the northwest and southwest (we need) a firm hand and dialogue to remain united," said Biya, 85, as he courted voters in Maroua in Cameroon's far north.

Biya said the country had "overcome the worst" of the conflict against anglophone separatists, as well as the bloody insurgency being waged in the far north by Nigeria-based jihadist group, Boko Haram.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Biya delivered his first stump speech of the campaign to thousands of supporters under a baking sun at Maroua's stadium flanked by dozens of ministers.

Official campaigning ahead of the October 7 presidential vote began last Saturday.

Thousands of members of Biya's ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC) took to the streets of Maroua where the country's president of 35 years had also campaigned ahead of his last three electoral victories.

The town's streets were lined with billboards emblazoned with Biya's face, proclaiming him to the "force of experience".

Biya was serenaded by young women recruited by the ruling party to entertain those who braved the heat to catch a glimpse of their leader who is seeking a seventh term.

Nine candidates will compete for the presidency which Biya has held with an iron grip since 1982.

Security has emerged as a key electoral battle ground after the English-speaking separatists vowed that the poll would not go ahead.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 134 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 249 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 653 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.27
(-0.23)
ZAR/GBP
20.36
(-0.28)
ZAR/EUR
18.27
(-0.23)
ZAR/AUD
11.28
(-0.05)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.43)
Gold
1766.22
(-1.13)
Silver
21.93
(-3.11)
Platinum
956.00
(-0.78)
Brent Crude
47.90
(0.00)
Palladium
2401.26
(-0.44)
All Share
57822.50
(-0.17)
Top 40
53021.58
(-0.12)
Financial 15
11577.71
(-0.58)
Industrial 25
79894.95
(-0.12)
Resource 10
52804.55
(+0.03)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo