Military Wiki
Ambazonia Defence Forces
Seal of the Ambazonia Defence Forces.png
Seal of the Ambazonia Defence Forces
Founded 2017
C.I.C Ayaba Cho Lucas[1]
Chairman of ADF Council Benedict Kuah
Active personnel 1,500 (according to the ADF; as of July 2018)[2]
Related articles
History Anglophone Crisis

The Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) are a military organization that fights for the independence of Ambazonia, a self-declared independent state in the Anglophone region of Southern Cameroons, Cameroon. It was formally established by the Ambazonia Governing Council on 9 September 2017, the same day as the organization declared a war of independence.[2]

The ADF has been fighting a guerrilla war against the Cameroonian Armed Forces in the Anglophone part of the country since September 2017.[3] In June 2018, it claimed to have 1,500 soldiers under its command, spread across 20 bases across Southern Cameroons.[2] Numerically and materially the inferior of their adversary, they rely on hit-and-run attacks, ambushes and raids, taking advantage of their familiarity with the terrain. The ADF aims to raise the cost of Cameroon's military presence in the region higher than the profits the country gets from there.[4] Cameroonian authorities have acknowledged that they have little control outside the cities in Southern Cameroons;[5] according to a foreign journalist who spent time with the ADF, this owes partly to the poor infrastructure in the region, making it hard for the army to pursue the guerrillas.[2]

The ADF is loyal to the Ambazonia Governing Council, which is not part of the Interim Government of Ambazonia. This has led to a complicated relationship with the Interim Government, which initially did not endorse an armed struggle. On November 9, 2017, the Interim Government condemned ADF attacks that killed three gendarmes.[6] The Interim Government's nonviolent stance changed in early 2018, opening the possibility of cooperation between it and the ADF. The ADF has declined offers to be integrated into the Ambazonia Self-Defence Council, an umbrella organization established by the Interim Government to unite all separatist militias under one banner. Following the death of General Ivo Mbah in December 2018, President Samuel Ikome Sako praised the deceased general and urged all separatist militias to "ignore our minor differences" and unite.[7]

In March 2019, an ADF leader announced that they would take the war into the French-speaking parts of Cameroon. A week later, separatists - possibly the ADF - raided Penda Mboko, Littoral Region, and injured three gendarmes.[8] This was in defiance of the policy of the Interim Government, which has stressed that the war should take place solely within the borders of Southern Cameroons.[9]

In late-August 2019, the ADF announced that a half-year lockdown was being planned. This was in response to the life sentences that had just been handed to Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and nine other detained separatist leaders by the Yaoundé Military Tribunal.[10]

After at least five instances in January 2020 where angry villagers attacked separatist camps, the ADF openly condemned war crimes committed by fellow separatists. ADF fighters were given orders to arrest anyone caught terrorizing civilians, including fellow separatists.[11] Later in the month, the Southern Cameroon Restoration Forces, led by General Chacha, abducted 40 ADF fighters, six of whom were executed, in a serious case of separatist infighting.[12]


  1. Is the Comander in Chief of the ADF’, Cameroon News Agency, Feb 4, 2018. Accessed Apr 19, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Cameroon: I spent a week embedded with Anglophone armed separatists, RFI, Jun 14, 2018. Accessed Jun 14, 2018.
  3. Explosions in Bamenda and Killings in Besongabang Military Base, ADF Claims Responsibility, Cameroon Journal, Sept 13, 2017. Accessed Apr 19, 2018.
  4. 'This is a genocide': villages burn as war rages in blood-soaked Cameroon, The Guardian, May 20, 2018. Accessed Jun 1, 2018.
  5. 'Dirty war' ravages Cameroon's Buea region, Daily Nation, May 5, 2018. Accessed May 7, 2018.
  6. ‘Ambazonia’ Interim “President” Condemns Violence Amid Claims By ADF of Masterminding Gendarme Killing, Nov 9, 2017. Accessed Nov 11, 2019.
  7. "Opinion: Ambazonia ‘Acting President’ Says General Ivo Died A Hero". Cameroon News Agency. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2019. 
  8. Cameroon:Three gendarmes injured as suspected Ambazonia fighters attack Littoral region again, Journal du Cameroun, Apr 2, 2019. Accessed Apr 2, 2019.
  9. Interim Government Warns Cameroun Against Propagating Inter-Citizen War Between Both Cameroons, Bareta News. Accessed Dec 25, 2018.
  10. After Life Imprisonment Sentence: Ambazonians Promise Tough Days Ahead, Cameroon News Agency, Aug 21, 2019. Accessed Aug 22, 2019.
  11. Cameroon Anglophone Villagers Attack Separatist Camps Over Abuse, Voice of America, Jan 8, 2020. Accessed Jan 8, 2020.
  12. Cameroon’s Anglophone Separatists Turn to Infighting, Voice of America, Jan 22, 2020. Accessed Jan 23, 2020.

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