Cameroon’s Far North: A New Chapter in the Fight Against Boko Haram

This report is one in a series of Crisis Group publications on the threat posed by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin. It is based on documentary research and some 150 interviews conducted from August 2017 to March 2018 in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé, the Chadian capital N’Djamena and Cameroon’s Far North, with local authorities, members of the security forces, traditional chiefs, religious leaders, vigilante group members, academics, Western diplomats, local NGOs’ staff members and former Boko Haram members imprisoned in Maroua, the capital of the Far North Region. The report analyses conflict dynamics from 2017 to mid-2018 and puts forward proposals for dealing with two urgent security challenges: former Boko Haram combatants and vigilante groups. As discussed in previous Crisis Group publications, a series of deep political, social and economic problems lies behind the Far North’s vulnerability and the instability caused by Boko Haram in the region. This report does not deal with overall responses to address the threat posed by Boko Haram but focuses instead on urgent security issues, because the way in which the government handles them will determine whether the country can make the transition to greater stability.