English-speaking areas in Cameroon are currently without the internet and it has been so for more than a week after Anglophone teachers, lawyers and students protested against alleged bias in favour of Francophones.
It is understood that today (Friday) marks the tenth day since the authorities ordered the country’s telecommunications providers to shut off internet connections to the regions of Northwest and Southwest.
The Protests in the Anglophone regions, which have been persisting for years, got intensified late last year when protesters turned violent.
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) January 22, 2017
— Kah Walla (@KahWalla) January 22, 2017
The aim is to peacefully protest against what activists call the marginalisation of the English-speaking regions by government imposing the French language on their schools and courts.
The internet blackout was also coming after the government had banned at least two Anglophone groups – Southern Cameroons National Council and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium – and arrested some of their leaders.
It was learnt that Anglophone teachers, lawyers and students have been on strike since early December with many urging peaceful protests to call for the establishment of a two-state federation.
On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya reportedly signed a decree establishing the National Commission of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in the country.
However, activists rejected the measure saying their strikes and protests are about more than language.
— Kathleen Ndongmo (@KathleenNdongmo) January 22, 2017
Coupled with the Internet shutdown, Cameroon’s authorities are sending citizens across all mobile networks SMS messages reminding them of the penalties of posting “information you can’t prove” on social media.