Analysis: Biya’s call for dialogue in Cameroon

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has announced plans for major talks to end the conflict in the English-speaking regions of the country, where separatist fighters are demanding independence.

Keen political observers here have pointed out that initially Mr Biya had hoped the separatist fighters would run out of steam, and their demands would die a natural death.

But the separatists have been resilient, forcing the president to change tack.

Mr Biya’s announcement has created a new sense of optimism that things could return to normal.

However, his offer of peace has been rejected by the separatists who say they are horrified at the “callous indifference” the president and his regime have shown towards the crisis.

Analysts are now worried that rejecting dialogue could mean more bloodshed in a country where at least 2,000 people have been killed in three years of fighting, with over 500,000 others forced from their homes.

Still, experts are upbeat that for a country reeling from over three years of a devastating separatist conflict, any step, no matter how little, is certainly welcome.

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