Southern Cameroons repression / Jalal Talabani dies / Mediation offers in Catalonia-Spain conflict

30 September to 5 October

Jalal Talabani.
Jalal Talabani.
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. At least 17 people have died in Southern Cameroons October 1 after violence from Cameroonian police and armed forces, which continue to repress the South Cameroonian independence movement. As a result of another repressive intervention —Spain’s against the Catalan referendum, luckily with no dead people— offers for international mediation in the Catalonia-Spain conflict are emerging. In Asturias, the pro-Asturian movement sees official status for the language a little closer. Meanwhile, South Kurdistan mourns historic leader Jalal Talabani.


Crackdown against Southern Cameroons movement leaves at least 17 killed. The Cameroonian government has banned public gatherings, has enforced internet cuts and has forced businesses to close after activists belonging to the South Cameroons movement demonstrated for independence and symbolically proclaimed it, October 1. Repression by the Cameroonian police and armed forces has left at least 17 people dead, according to an Amnesty International count. Other sources point to a hundred victims.

Cameroon was born in 1961 as a bi-state federation made up of former British mandate of Southern Cameroons on the one hand and former French mandate of Cameroun on the other. A 1972 constitutional amendment put an end to the federation and established a unitary state instead, which the Southern Cameroons pro-sovereignty movement has always regarded as unlawful and non-legitimate. South Cameroonians —3.4 millions, commonly referred to as Anglophones in the African country— often consider that the central government marginalizes them in contrast to the rest of the Cameroonian population —19.1 million, also known as Francophones. Much of the Cameroon oil reserves are offshore, facing the coast of Southern Cameroons.

Since 1972, different pro-independence organizations have repeatedly proclaimed the Republic of Ambazonia, the name they propose for an independent Southern Cameroons. The Cameroonian government has systematically refused to negotiate even the return to the pre-1972 federal structure. A recent report by International Crisis Group suggested that the Cameroonian government be more inclusive with Anglophones and implement a decentralized system.


Proposals for international mediation after escalation of repression in Catalonia. Basque president Iñigo Urkullu, the Swiss government and, according to Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, a European regional government are among several actors that have offered to mediate between the Catalan and Spanish government after the upscale of tension after police violence against the Catalan independence referendum, October 1. The escalation was culminated by Spanish head of state King Philip VI in a televised message October 3, in which he avoided asking for dialogue or making any reference to the victims of police violence.

Asturias’ socialists accepts demands for official status of Asturian. The 32nd Congress of the Asturian Socialist Federation (FSA-PSOE) has approved, with 52% of votes for, an amendment in favor of supporting official status for Asturian and Galician-Asturian languages if a reform of the Statute of Autonomy is ever launched. Both the Board for the Defense of the Asturian Language (XDLA, which recently unveiled a project for official status in 2018) and the Academy of the Asturian Language have welcomed the news. In addition, the European Parliament is to host a meeting on issues regarding the Asturian language on the first quarter of 2018.

Jalal Talabani, historic Kurdish leader, dies. Mam Jalal, as he was commonly known in Kurdistan, died on October 3 in Berlin. A commander of the Kurdish armed resistance and founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Talabani put the cause of Kurdish self-determination at the centre of his political action. He held the office of president of Iraq between 2005 and 2014, after Saddam Hussein’s ouster. Talabani is regarded as one of the most prominent leaders of contemporary Kurdish nationalism.