Cameroon goes to the polls as conflict rages

YAOUNDE: Cameroonians voted in presidential polls on Sunday with octogenarian leader Paul Biya seeking a seventh term against a backdrop of deadly violence in the country’s English-speaking regions. The vote follows a last-minute opposition unity bid to dislodge the 85-year-old incumbent, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers. Two leading opponents have formed the first electoral union since 1992, but talks between various other opposition parties to create a “super-coalition” to deny Biya another seven years were apparently fruitless.

Biya and his wife Chantal, who wore a matching canary yellow skirt, jacket and handbag along with her signature brown bouffant hair, voted in the Bastos public school in the capital Yaounde surrounded by heavily-armed soldiers. “The election campaign was conducted peacefully… as president, it would be satisfying to be re-elected to see that the people trust me,” he told journalists as he left the voting booth and returned to his Mercedes-Maybach limousine. “I feel proud,” said Patrick, 38, an airport worker who also voted in Bastos. — AFP