DOUALA, Aug 2 – Cocoa bean arrivals at Cameroon’s main port of Douala stood at 223,413 tonnes by May 31 from the start of the season in August, down 10 percent on last season owing to growing violence in its Anglophone region, the cocoa regulator said on Thursday.

In the same period of the 2016/17 season, 249,573 tonnes were delivered, official data shows.

Cameroon’s cocoa regulator, the CICC, attributed the fall to “non-evacuated volumes in crisis areas,” it said in a statement.

Cameroon has been gripped by worsening violence since November 2016, when government forces crushed a movement of Anglophone teachers and lawyers protesting against their perceived marginalisation by the French-speaking majority — a movement which then morphed into an insurgency.

Separatists seeking independence for the region — a small part of Cameroon that during colonial days was controlled by Britain, while the rest was controlled by France — have clashed with security forces most weeks. That has cut many Cameroonian buyers off from parts of the Southwest cocoa-growing region.

A lot of beans have been smuggled into neighbouring Nigeria, instead of going to Douala. (Reporting by Josiane Kouagheu Writing by Ange Aboa Editing by Tim Cocks, Kirsten Donovan and Alexandra Hudson)

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