Database of Atrocities on Cameroon's Anglophone Crisis
- University of Toronto -
Aims of the Database
The Database of Atrocities aims to:
- counter the culture of impunity that has pervaded this crisis since it began in
- secure evidence for future international accountability procedures and a possible
national truth, justice, and reconciliation commission;
- assist human rights activists and journalists advocating for human rights in Cameroon;
- constitute an archive for scholarly research on Cameroon and the Anglophone Crisis
- serve as a deterrence to warring parties from engaging in further atrocities.
This database is apolitical and non-partisan. It is a secure, centralized location
that stores information about atrocities perpetrated during the Anglophone Crisis
in Cameroon. The atrocities violate domestic or international laws and rules of
Creators of the Database
The database is created by a group of researchers and civic leaders concerned by
the devastating impacts of violence and atrocities in Cameroon's Anglophone regions,
especially for civilians. Our team includes researchers at University of Toronto
and Amnesty International's Digital Verification Corps (University of California
- Berkeley, University of Essex, University of Pretoria, University of Toronto),
with support from other GIS verifiers, Cameroonian nonprofits such as CHRDA, and
a few prominent Cameroonians and friends of Cameroon who are neither affiliated
with the Cameroon government nor with any of the non-state armed groups, or other
This database is apolitical and will always avoid any partisan interferences. The
database is hosted at University of Toronto (Canada) for reasons of neutrality and
How to Submit Incidents to the Database
To submit incidents to the Database, click on this link and fill in as many fields
as you can:
This method of uploading is completely anonymous. There is NO identifying information
about the person or device uploading.
How to View the Database
Click on each item to view the verification report. You can download the verification
reports onto your device. Sort through the verified incidents by clicking on the
'key words' category in the left column. In this way, you may categorize results
by type of atrocity and likely perpetrator.
If you have questions about how to navigate the website, please see the Dataverse FAQ
or contact us at
The information in the database contains graphic content. Please see the following
resources on resiliency and trauma:
The Anglophone Crisis
The Anglophone Crisis occurring in Cameroon's South-West Region and North-West Region
poses an existential threat to millions of Cameroonians and risks undermining Cameroon's
national stability as well as that of the Central- and West-Africa sub-regions.
It encompasses grave crimes against humanity, and must not be allowed to slide into
Cameroon is an officially bilingual country, with two English-speaking regions and
eight French-speaking regions. The Crisis emerged in October 2016, when Anglophone
lawyers and teachers took to the streets on strike to protest the government's placement
of French-language judges, teachers, and procedures in Anglophone-region courts
and schools. The Crisis began as the newest iteration of Cameroon's historical 'Anglophone
Problem', which refers to political, economic, and social marginalization felt by
Anglophone Cameroonians in the Francophone-dominated country. Anglophones make up
approximately 20 percent of the country's population and Francophones the remaining
The government met the 2016 peaceful protests with force, and in January 2017,
jailed the movement's leaders and cut internet to the regions for months. As the
crisis worsened, Anglophone activists responded with weekly 'ghost towns' (halting
markets, forbidding travel) and closing schools.
Notably, the Crisis has "outgrown the less-complicated demands that originally led
to the strike action initiated by teachers and lawyers... [T]he protests... have
increasingly become suffused with burgeoning clamours for independence" (Caxton, 2017).
On October 1, 2017, separatists symbolically declared an independent state,
'Ambazonia'. Over time, amplified violence by Cameroon's security forces sparked
retaliatory attacks by various local armed separatist groups.
Today, the conflict has birthed approximately nineteen non-state armed groups who
frequently use irregular tactics in confrontations with government forces (International
Crisis Group, 2019: 32-33). According to International Crisis Group in
September 2019, approximately 3000 people have died, at least 500,000
have become internally displaced persons (IDPs), 40,000 are now refugees in Nigeria,
and 700,000 children are deprived of school. UNOCHA reports that, as of July 2019,
1.3 million people in the Anglophone Regions are in urgent need of humanitarian
Government forces have engaged in:
- extrajudicial killings
- random looting, shooting, beating, and torturing, using disproportionate and indiscriminate
- abusing and arresting protestors
- burning more than 200 villages to the ground, displacing hundreds of thousands of
- attacking hospitals
- beating and raping women and girls
Some of these non-state armed groups have:
- killed and dismembered security force members
- killed, tortured, or maimed Anglophone civilians who appear unsupportive of secession
- kidnapped civilians for ransom
- kidnapped teachers and students to enforce a school ban
- enforced lockdowns, trapping civilians in their homes for days
- beaten and raped women and girls
Civilians are trapped in the crossfire. The Crisis is now a humanitarian disaster,
rife with deplorable human rights violations and inhumane violence.
Cameroon's Anglophone conflict has been underreported in international and African
media. In fact, it tops the Norwegian Refugee Council's list of 2019 Most Neglected
Displacement Crises. In April 2019, Human Rights Watch's main researcher for
Cameroon was denied entry into the country at the Douala airport en route to investigate
and report on human rights violations in the English-speaking regions. Cameroonian
journalists have been jailed for trying to cover the Crisis.
Civilians and combatants alike use social media to share information about the conflict.
However, this information is diffuse and disorganized. It is also not authenticated,
and in some cases images of past incidents or incidents from other countries are
recirculated on social media with false attribution to the Crisis. Civilians caught
with Crisis information in their phones may be harmed by military, and in Cameroon's
current climate of mistrust, people pass information to their friends of friends
of friends to post to avoid being traced. Cameroon's government has threatened,
detained, and physically harmed journalists.
The Cameroonian government has not met its 'responsibility to protect,' and the
Crisis continues. It demands regional and international attention and action to
reduce violence, protect civilians, care for refugees and IDPs, reestablish human
rights, and permit a ceasefire and peace negotiations.
Having access to verified information and evidence of atrocities taking place in
Cameroon could be extremely helpful in encouraging these outcomes.
This Database of Atrocities will securely store sensitive information about atrocities
to support an end to the Anglophone Crisis, so that the suffering of civilians eases,
and peace and justice can take over.
For more information about crimes against humanity in the Anglophone Crisis: