Cameroon president ready for dialogue over Anglophone crisis

Cameroon's President Paul Biya is seen at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Cameroon president Paul Biya says he is ready for talks with separatist elements to end the ongoing security crisis in the country’s English speaking regions.

The crisis has been going on since October 2017.

“If my appeal to warmongers remains unheeded to, the defense and security forces will be instructed to neutralize them. I am aware of the situation and the difficulties the rebels are putting the people in.

It is the first time that Biya is speaking directly to the subject of dialogue. international partners and the church had long advocated this position as the only way out of the crisis.

There are no concrete clarifications on who exactly are the goodwill personalities Yaounde is willing to engage. Separatist leaders are currently facing treason and terrorism charges before a military tribunal.

In the past, Biya’s Interior Minister, Paul Atanga Nji, has stressed that government was never going to enter any kind of dialogue with terrorists.

The crisis concentrated in the northwest and southwest regions have claimed scores of lives on the part of separatists and security forces. Civilians have also been killed in the line of fire.

Thousands of Cameroonians have fled the regions, some have crossed into the French side of the country whiles others fled into Nigeria