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Cameroon: The Bamileke tribe, its origins in the country, its language, its association with Anglophones, and treatment of its members by government authorities (October 2002)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 22 October 2002
Citation / Document Symbol CMR39682.FE
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Cameroon: The Bamileke tribe, its origins in the country, its language, its association with Anglophones, and treatment of its members by government authorities (October 2002), 22 October 2002, CMR39682.FE, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Sources indicate that the Bamileke are native to the grasslands of western Cameroon (Africans Art 21 Mar. 2002; Zognong 11 July 2002). However, following a migratory flow in the 15th and 16th centuries, they descended and scattered throughout the southwest (World Investment News 2002) until the 17th century, when they finally began settling in the south (Rebirth African Art 13 Oct. 2002).

Dieudonné Zognong wrote the following about the Bamileke:


The strong migratory characteristic of the Bamileke, a tribe native to western Cameroon, has led them to settle widely, not only within Cameroon but also in neighbouring countries. According to Jean-Pierre Warnier, the reason why Bamileke entrepreneurs are found throughout Cameroon and are referred to as "invaders" is because so many of them move around within the country, and even throughout the central African sub-region. In Gabon, for example, a large share of the urban transportation sector, small businesses, and food supply industry are run by the Bamileke. This migratory tendency is due in part to the Bamileke grasslands' being so densely populated – 69 persons/km2 compared to 13 persons/km2 for the whole of Cameroon (11 June 2002).

No recent information could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate on the Bamileke's association with Anglophones or on their treatment by government authorities.

Please see CMR39479.F of 7 August 2002, CMR35757.FE of 8 December 2000 and CMR34023.E of 27 March 2000 for information on the Bamileke language, the tribe's origins, and its association with Anglophones in the past.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Africans-Art. 21 March 2002. "Bamileke People." [Accessed 1 Oct. 2002]

Rebirth African Art. 13 October 2002. "Bamileke Tribal History." [Accessed

16 Oct. 2002]

World Investment News (WINNE). 2002. "History of Cameroon." [Accessed 16 Oct. 2002]

Zognong, Dieudonné. 11 June 2002. "La question Bamiléké pendant l'ouverture démocratique au Cameroun : retour d'un débat occulté." [Accessed 15 Oct. 2002]

(1) Dieudonné Zognong was [translation] "an associate professor with the faculty of philosophy of the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaounde. His doctoral thesis in political philosophy dealt specifically with human rights. As coordinator of AGA/Governance Alert, this author is well known in Cameroon and among the community of the UN in Geneva, the UNESCO and the World Bank as a dedicated human rights advocate. In this capacity, he also participates regularly in international sessions and forums. In the context of his research on ethnic issues, he is a member of the executive committee of Ethno-Net/Cameroon" (Zognong 11 June 2002).

(2) Ethno-Net Africa is [translation] "an African network supported by the UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST). More specifically, this network is engaged in research and analysis of ethnic conflicts within the African continent" (ibid.).

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential Jan.-Aug. 2002.

Africa Research Bulletin Jan.-June 2002.

IRB Databases.

Jeune Afrique/L'Intelligent Jan.-Sept. 2002.


Resource Centre country file. Cameroon.

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International.


Cameroon News.

Cameroon Tribune.



Le Messager.

Le Patriote.

Search engines including:




Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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