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Cameroon may lose AFCON hosting rights due to Ambazonia War

Yaounde(National Times)_The war in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon popularly known as Ambazonia may cause Cameroon to lose its hosting rights of the African Football Cup of Nations (AFCON) as the next CAF inspection mission is announced for October 27.

According to Guillame Koum, a Communication Officer with the Local Organising Committee who spoke to The National Times News, the delegation would essentially be evaluating the security challenges the country is facing as it prepares to host the biggest continental sporting event.

Even though Koum would not ascertained whether the delegation would visit Buea and Limbe which are hosting sites with security challenges, he noted that the work of the delegation is essentially security.

“Another delegation would be coming to Cameroon in November to visit the project sites and infrastructure,” he added.

He however refuted allegations that Government wanted to use the election as evidence to the world and CAF that events of national and international magnitude can be organised in Cameroon. He argued that the visit falls within the regular programme of CAF prior to the competition.

Talking to some residence of Buea and Limbe about the possibility of hosting the AFCON in the two cities, most of them wondered how a crowd pulling competition of such a magnitude would take place in Buea and Limbe which have become very volatile of late.

A business man who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said the conflict has grounded every activity in Buea and he wondered whether such a competition would be staged in a city that is almost totally ghosted.

With a record of daily violence and gun battles in and around Fako Division, it would be a challenging task for the Government of Cameroon to convinced CAF and FIFA officials to host such a competition in the area.

CAF  Inspection team

When the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs visited Buea in June, he was met by violence and even though the visit lasted just for few hours, it only took the muscular intervention of security forces to pave his way in and out of the town.

On Election Day, the entire Region was ghosted and the DO for Buea, Paul Wokam Kouam came under heavy gunfire from Ambazoznia fighters around Buea.

CAF would not want to have a repeat of the 2010 incident where members of the Togolese National football team came under an attack in Angola during the AFCON, leading to three deaths. Moreover, with Ambazonia fighters already expressing their unfriendliness to the competition, it would be a hideous task for it to be successfully hosted in Buea and Limbe.

However, the Government may be banging on the fact that it “successfully” organised Presidential election throughout the national territory even in areas deemed impossible.

This may explain why it was impossible for the Constitutional Council to cancel the election based on the grounds of insecurity in the two Anglophone Regions as advanced by the CRM and SDF parties during post-electoral contention. It is to be noted that other host cities include Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam and Garoua.


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