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The French-English Divide Can Be Lethal in This African Nation

  • Violence undermines agriculture-based economy in battle zone
  • President Biya vows to ‘neutralize’ English-speaking rebels
An army vehicle secures perimeter of a polling station in southwestern Cameroon on Oct. 7, 2018.
An army vehicle secures perimeter of a polling station in southwestern Cameroon on Oct. 7, 2018.Photographer: MARCO LONGARI/AFP
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Cyprain fled his home when separatist fighters in Cameroon’s Northwest region threatened to kill him after he served government soldiers at his roadside bar.

He’s one of a growing number of civilians trapped between the army and roaming gangs of English-speaking insurgents fighting to break away from the majority-Francophone nation. The conflict has decimated the local economy in the conflict zone, and according to the United Nations, left hundreds of people dead and displaced about 437,000 people.