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First ever regional election holds in Cameroon

Regional elections are taking place in Cameroon with residents voting for the first time for members of the country’s upper House of legislature.

Local representatives on Sunday are voting to appoint councils in all 10 regions made up of delegates and traditional rulers.

It puts into action a 1996 law that promised decentralised government but was never enacted.

Since 2016, the regions which comprise Cameroon’s minority Anglophone area have been in conflict with the central French-speaking government over growing requirements to use French in the legal and education systems.

But opponents say the vote offers only the semblance of regional autonomy, and comes too late to fix the conflict.

The Anglophone opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) has withdrawn from the ballot and called for a boycott.

Separatist fighters said they will arrest anyone participating.

As a result, the majority party in government, Cameroon People’s Democratic Party, is expected to sweep the elections.

More than 3,000 people have been killed in Cameroon’s anglophone crisis which beganin 2016. About 500,000 have been forced from their homes due to the conflict.

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