85-year-old incumbent, Paul Biya, runs for seventh term as president amid fighting between rebels and military
Voters in English-speaking regions of Cameroon went to the polls on Sunday amid gunfire and confrontations between the countrys military and separatists.
The countrys 85-year-old president, Paul Biya, is running for a seventh term in the central African country where anglophone rebels have been fighting for secession from the francophone majority, prompting a fierce crackdown by government forces.
Many anglophone Cameroonians have already fled their homes, but most of those remaining in the regions largest towns, Bamenda and Buea, were too scared to go out to cast their votes. Gun battles went on for hours in parts of the two towns.
We have been on the floor since the morning due to the gunshots. I felt like the bullets were passing all over my head. Now I know I cannot vote again, said Allen Fru, an electrician in Bamenda.
The separatists declared the election banned in the regions, which last year symbolically declared the independent republic of Ambazonia.
More than 20 Amba boys, as the separatists are called locally, reportedly paraded through the streets of Bamenda to intimidate voters. Two suspected separatist fighters were shot dead by the military after attacks on polling centres early on Sunday.
The national elections body, ELECAM, had earlier selected more than 2,300 polling stations in the north-west for the presidential election, but security threats reduced the number to 74.
About 528,000 people were registered to vote in the north-west on Sunday, although most polling stations inspected received few or no voters. Some voters, who had earlier showed interest in the elections, said that following the gunshots, they wouldnt risk it. Nor did officials dare to venture out to man polling stations.
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