Biya, 85, said on Twitter Friday that he will stand as a candidate in the October elections. He said he is running to “ensure a more united, stable and prosperous Cameroon.”
Biya has ruled Cameroon uncontested since 1982. Critics have described his state record as “chaotic.”
He is the second longest serving ruler in Africa, after Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.
In 2008, he removed term limits from the constitution, allowing him to contest and win the 2011 election.
A presidential decree had set the coming elections for October 7.
About 11 candidates have so far declared their intention to contest in the upcoming polls. Among them, Joshua Osih, who was elected in February as candidate of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF, English-speaking).
Transparency International lawyer and former vice president Akere Muna, as well as the president of the Mouvement pour la Renaissance du Cameroun (MRC) party, Maurice Kamto, is also entering the presidential race.
The country is currently riled by secessionist elements in the Anglophone regions—northwest and southwest regions.
The secessionists’ struggle for independence has entered an armed phase. About eighty-one security forces have so far been killed in guerilla-style attacks.
The UN says up to 160,000 people have fled their homes because of the violence. The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency says 34,000 have fled to Nigeria.
Cameroon is also dealing with Boko Haram attacks in the far north.