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Cameroon: The Date of the Presidential Election Is Finally Known

Cameroon will hold the presidential elections on October 7, 2018, said the head of state Paul Biya in a decree released Monday.

Elected in 1982, 85-year-old President Biya is the oldest African leader. However, he has not announced yet whether he will be a candidate or not.

The vote will take place against a background of growing problems in the oil-rich state, confronted by an insurgency by English-speaking separatists.

The main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), has already nominated its candidate, Joshua Osih.

Akere Muna, lawyer and former vice president of Transparency International, and Maurice Kamto, head of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC), are also candidates.

Earlier Monday, residents of Buea, the main town in the largely English-speaking southwestern region, said that shooting had taken place in the administrative district and lasted several hours.

The crisis that began in late 2016 is becoming increasingly bloody, while Anglophones are demanding greater autonomy.

President Biya has adopted a hard line, rejecting demands for a return to the federal structure of Cameroon and ordering a crackdown after the separatists issued a symbolic declaration of independence on 1 October.

According to a government report released last month, separatists have killed 74 soldiers and seven policemen since the end of 2017, when more than 100 civilians have died “in the last 12 months”.

According to the UN, 160,000 people have been internally displaced and 20,000 have fled to Nigeria.

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