Pre-Election Violence in Douala

Early this morning, gunmen wearing army uniforms blockaded a major bridge crossing the Wouri river for several hours, holding up traffic and firing at city policemen. The gunmen were holding signs denouncing current Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who is running for re-election on October 9.

This pre-election violence is indicative of the tensions surrounding the 2011 elections, where dissatisfaction with Biya’s semi-autocratic rule and widespread frustration with poverty and corruption are fueling support for the opposition. Opponents of the Biya’s party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), fear that Biya manage to once again manipulate election results to retain his hold on power. With such widespread frustrations building, this morning’s Douala shootout might not be an isolated occurrence.