Spiking violence has been noted by NGOs and human rights groups monitoring the civil unrest present in Cameroon’s southwest and northwest regions during the run up to country’s local and municipal elections on February 9.

Separatists in particular have taken militant steps to discourage and intimidate civilians located in these regions from participating in the elections, establishing a lockdown from February 7-12. Over 40 candidates who registered at the polls have been abducted by insurgents, undermining main opposition groups such as the Cameroon Renaissance movement (MRC) and Social Democratic Front (SDF) and keeping them from mounting any kind of opposition against the current ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM).