Boko Haram has been present in Cameroon since 2009. Following armed confrontations between fighters and Nigerian security forces in Maiduguri, a number of fighters crossed the border and sought refuge in Cameroon’s Far North region. Over the following years, Boko Haram’s presence in Cameroon evolved dramatically. While at first, the armed group was rather passive, it started recruiting Cameroonians as fighters between 2011 and 2013 and used the Far North region as a safe haven.
The first armed confrontation registered between the armed group and state armed forces took place in March 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, Boko Haram started carrying out attacks against the armed forces and the civilian population, focusing in particular on abductions and kidnapping of foreigners and suicide bombing.
While the intensity of violence has diminished but it has not ceased in 2016 and 2017, fighting increased again in 2018 and has continued since then.
‘Both the intensity of the armed violence opposing the Cameroon armed forces and Boko Haram, as well as the level of organization of Boko Haram in Cameroon, allow us to conclude to the existence of a NIAC’ underlines Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
In a worrying development, vigilante groups have emerged to fight against Boko Haram in the Far North.
‘Our analysis – developed on our RULAC online portal – does not allow us to conclude that vigilante groups are a party to the conflict because they do not meet the organization requirement’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli.
Since late 2017, Cameroon’s armed forces, including an elite combat unit Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB), have been involved in armed confrontations against a number of Anglophone separatist groups operating in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, in particular the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Defense Forces, ADF) and the Interim Government of Ambazonia (IG) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Self-Defence Council, ASC).
‘While confrontations have increased since 2017, both the level of armed violence as well as the level of organization of the separatist groups do not meet the threshold required by IHL to consider this situation as a NIAC’ says Dr Chiara Redaelli.
isafmedia, via Wikimedia Commons
Following the withdrawal of US troops and the fact that the Taliban gained effective control over most of the country, including Kabul, we revised the classification of the armed conflicts that are taking place in the country.
VOA, Wikimedia Commons
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal classified the armed violence opposing Mozambique to RENAMO splinter groups and the al-Shabab as non-international armed conflicts.
The 2021 edition will address two contemporary challenges and issues related to armed conflict: the classification of non-international armed conflicts in which a myriad of armed non-state actors are involved; and cyber conflicts.
VOA, via Wikimedia Commons
This online IHL talk aims at shining light on some of the many legal, political and protection-related challenges stemming from the situation in Afghanistan.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.
Medical Aid for Palestinians / Ezz Al Zanoon
This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.