The role of Social Media in promoting violence against women within the context of the Anglophone crisis 

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By Victory Marshall Ayafor


Since the advent of the Cameroon Anglophone crisis five years ago,  women continue to bear the brunt of the crisis and they are hit hardest in terms of violence especially if you are tagged a black leg or traitor for having an affair with a military or uniform man. 

The role of Social media in fueling violence against women within the context of the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon cannot be underestimated, and social media has had both positive and negative effects especially on women. 

Social media has served as a platform for promoting outright violation of human rights, stigmatization, hate speech, violence and dehumanization etc. On the other hand it can be a useful tool to promote peace building and social cohesion.  It is therefore a two edged sword that if used properly will build healthy citizens and cohesive societies, but if used wrongly, it can contribute to societal breakdown. 

Since the escalation of the Anglophone crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon in October 2017, many women have been victims of violence, torture and even murder. Separatists target civilians, including women, in a litany of atrocious abuses and dehumanizing acts, for dating military or uniform men. And the videos and images of these acts are littered all over social media to set an example for others with little regard for the humanity of these victims and their families.

According to separatists, a blackleg is a person who continues having dealings of any kind with the military perhaps as informants, spies or having an affair with them. Separatists refer to anyone who does not support their cause or worse still, collaborates with the government as a blackleg. 


On Sunday October 4, 2020, Mimi Mefo info carried a report of a lady whose video went viral. In the video, she was stripped naked, tortured and later on covered with mud by alleged separatist fighters who could be heard  questioning and accusing her for having an affair with a “uniformed man”.

On Friday January 22, 2021, Mimi Mefo info again, published an article with a video that went viral on a lady who was stripped naked and beaten by armed men for dating a Military man.

In the 30 seconds footage, separatists could be heard accusing her for dating an ‘Ekelebe’, a word commonly used by separatists to refer to a military or uniformed man. She was tagged black leg (traitor) for keeping such an affair. 

On Saturday August 20 2021, uploaded a video of 2 young girls who were seen being tortured by separatist fighters for having affairs with military men.

These are just few of the many cases of social media related violence against women, within the context of the Anglophone crisis committed by separatist fighters. Violence against women perpetrated by these armed separatist fighters has been on the rise with little protection, sympathy or justice for the affected women.

They continue to carry out targeted abductions, torturing and eventual killing of women they label black legs. In late 2019, a 19-year-old girl named was abducted and buried alive in Kumba, Meme Division of the South West Region. Another lady was also buried alive in Muyuka, Fako Division, South West Region. Both of these women were accused of dating soldiers and being informants.

Other victims of social media related violence include a lady who on August 3 2020 was killed in Bamenda by separatists, and a video of her lifeless body lying in her own pool of blood went viral on social media. Also, on August 11 2020 another woman was gruesomely killed by separatists in Muyuka for dating a Military man and her video made rounds on social media with her killers tagging her a black leg. 

Right up to mid-2022, there are still cases of women who are abducted and tortured by separatist fighters for having affairs with military or ‘uniformed’ men. 


Social media users have varied audience reactions after the consumption of such violent actions carried on women. Talking to a handful of social media users on their exposure to social media violence against women within the context of the Anglophone crisis, most of them acknowledged that watching them makes them to be reserved and cautious of having any dealings with the military.

Some said, watching such content makes them to become scared of eventualities and their surroundings, or develop hatred towards either the Separatists or the Cameroon government as a result of such media violent reports. A handful of these social media users acknowledged that such media violence reports especially against women within the context of the Anglophone crisis makes them sympathize with the Government against Separatists in the crisis.

These findings actually reveal the effect of social media violence exposure on viewers have been instilling mistrust, fear, anger and hatred in the minds of Cameroonians.  

Separatists have to stop such Human Rights Abuses in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon, worse still circulating them on social media. They have ceaselessly kidnapped, tortured, maimed, and even killed unarmed civilians, all in the name of them being traitors or black legs. These repeated and numerous violence atrocities meted against civilians especially women is strongly condemned. 


The social media campaign of violence against women has stoked feelings of insecurity, mistrust, fear, anger and hatred among citizens. This has led to an increase in partisan agendas and irrational feelings towards either the government or the separatists.

While some people are traumatized and frightened due to exposure to such violent social media content, the victims or survivors of such violent acts are stigmatized and psychologically tormented. 


The people should be sensitized on the negative effects of sharing such negative content and encouraged to report such videos to social media companies to stop their spread.

Both groups should be made aware that such content could end up alienating the very people whose support you need to push your agenda. 


Social Media: Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary defines Social Media as all forms of electronic communication that allow people to share information using the Internet or mobile phones.

Violence: Violence in our context is any behaviour or action involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

Black Legs: According to separatist fighters, a black leg is anyone they consider a traitor, sell out, spy, informant or anyone who doesn’t support their cause.

 ‘Ekelebe’:  Ekelebe is a common parlance used by separatist fighters to mean a soldier, military or any ‘uniformed’ man.

Anglophone crisis: The Anglophone Crisis, otherwise known as the ‘Ambazonia’ war is an ongoing civil war in the English speaking North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

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