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Terrorism can be traced to the second half of the twentieth century where many countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia experienced sporadic attacks by different groups. This research has as objective to examine the framework for fighting terrorism in Cameroon. this research adopts the qualitative research method. Cameroon has a good framework for fighting terrorism, however this framework is problematic.

The anti-terrorism law which is the major law to combat terrorism in Cameroon infringes on certain fundamental rights of such as the right to association. Also, the military strategy to fight the Boko Haram terrorist group in Cameroon has resulted to the death and torture of innocent civilians. This work equally discusses the international ratified instruments relating to the terrorism ratified by Cameroon. 

This research recommends that the anti-terrorism law should be revised so as to take into consideration fundamental human rights such as the right to strike. In conclusion, Cameroon has a taken both legislative and institutional measures to fight terrorism. The military has been re-enforced and security strengthened within the country.


Terrorism has existed since the twentieth century where many countries in the world confronted groups of all kind that resorted to the use of violence against innocent civilians to obtain their goals. The response of the international community was the adoption of a series of Treaties concerning specific types of terrorist act and the obligations of states with regard to them. There are a good number of treaties both international and regional that have been adopted to combat terrorism.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (hereafter referred to as UNODC) has for many years been addressing issues pertaining to international terrorism and the necessity of international cooperation against terrorism. The Terrorism Prevention Branch (hereafter referred to as TPB) has been mandated to provide assistance to requesting countries in the ratification and implementation of the universal legal instruments against terrorism, incorporating their provisions into national legislation and assisting in the implementation of new legislation.

The global project strengthening the legal regime against terrorism assistance was provided to 158 States between January 2003 and the end of September 2008, more than 114 received direct assistance while indirect assistance was provided through sub-regional and regional activities. Approximately 7,400 national officials have been trained on the ratification and implementation requirements and provisions of the universal legal instruments relating to terrorism and requirements pursuant to Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).

TPB has developed several technical assistance tools aimed at assisting countries to strengthen their legal regimes against terrorism, while new technical assistance tools are being continuously developed.
A Ministerial Round Table of West and Central African Countries on Counter-Terrorism Legal Framework, was held at Madrid (Spain) from 25 to 26 May 2006. The Round Table was aimed at reinforcing related counter-terrorism initiatives in West and Central African States by building on activities already successfully carried out by TPB in the region.

Terrorism to best describe it is the “major headache of Cameroon today”. Terrorist acts are perpetrated in Cameroon by the Islamic Sect “Boko Haram. Having killed at least 7,000 people in Nigeria since January 2014, armed fighters belonging to Boko Haram now officially the “Islamic State’s West Africa Province” have brought their violence to Cameroon particularly people living in the Far North region of Cameroon.

Boko Haram has disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Northern Cameroon since early 2014, committing crimes under international law and human rights abuses, including willful killings, attacks directed against civilian objects, misappropriation, looting and abductions. In addition, about 81,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes. The Cameroon government has taken legislative measures to fight terrorism such as the anti-terrorism law which was promulgated in 2014 and institutional measures such as the declaration of war on Boko Haram in the same year.

Terrorism is a serious issue which is dealt with in international Conventions; however, there is no abstract definition of what should legally constitute terrorism. Richard Baxter expressed a general unease about the use of terrorism as a concept of law. He notes “we have cause to regret that a legal concept of ‘terrorism’ was ever inflicted upon us.

The term is imprecise; it is ambiguous and above all, it serves no operative legal purpose”. Rosalyn Higgins aptly observed that “terrorism is a term without legal significance. It is merely a convenient way of alluding to activities, whether of states or of individuals, widely disapproved of and in which either the methods used are unlawful, or the targets protected or both”.
The problem of defining terrorism was reiterated by Nicolas . He notes that the problem of the definition of terrorism is of major significance in anti-terrorist policy since it is intimately related to the identification and punishment of terrorist activities and it causes disagreements among states when they have to take common legal measures to counter terrorism.

For instance, in the British Prevention of Terrorism Act, section 20, terrorism is defined as follows: “The use of violence for political ends and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public or any section of the public in fear.” Meanwhile, according to United States of America (US) Law 100(204) of 1987, section 901, “The term terrorist activity means the organizing or participating in a wanton or indiscriminate act of violence with extreme indifference to the risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to individuals not taking part in armed hostilities.”

In a bid to fight terrorism, over two thousand civilians have died from government operations. The Nigerian military for instance has been accused of killing and torturing innocent civilians in a bid to defeating Boko Haram. On October 2012, thirty (unarmed) civilians were shot dead by the Nigerian military in pursuit of Boko Haram in the North-eastern city of Maiduguri. Three weeks later, the Nigerian military carried out another operation in Maiduguri that killed seventy people whose connection with Boko Haram were not established.
There new anti-terrorism law which is the major law relating to the fight against terrorism in Cameroon is problematic.

The anti-terrorism law has sparked a wave of criticism across the political chessboard from opposition political leaders to civil society, church ministers and trade unions. It is said that the law is designed to terrorize the people and kill their freedoms. This is because this law infringes into fundamental human rights like freedom of association. For instance, the law forbids public meetings.
The law also condemns strike actions (street protest) thus, a violation of the right of trade unions to strike. Kah Wallah, the lone female leader of a political party in Cameroon (the Cameroon People’s Party), said “the government is taking us back to the worst days of the most barbaric dictatorship …

This law is manifestly against the fundamental liberties and rights of the Cameroonian people … In the guise of fighting terrorism, the government’s real intent is to stifle political dissent.” Jean Mark Bikoko, President of the Public Service Workers’ Trade Union Cameroon also bitterly reacted to the anti-terrorism law. He stated: “The anti-terrorism law has provoked the ire of civil society and we will protest on December 10 International Human Rights Day”.

Terrorist activities have met with stiff opposition in Cameroon, however, it is the researcher’s view that the Boko Haram group has succeeded to achieve its mission in Cameroon. This is because, terrorists have as mission to instill fear in a country and destabilize the economy. An evaluation of what prevails in Cameroon attests to the fact that they have achieved this objective. To illustrate, there is extra ordinary security at check points which inconvenient passengers. Businesses that use to operate at night can no longer operate thus, a negative impact on the economy taking into consideration the fact that such businesses pay taxes to the government and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cameroon.
● How is terrorism dealt with in world?
● What is the legal framework for fighting terrorism in Cameroon?
● What are the institutional measures by the government of Cameroon to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram?
● What policy recommendations can be made?

1.4.1 General Objective


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