Cameroon has begun a week of celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the ruling party's founding by the president.

Festivities kicked off Saturday in the remote northern town of Maroua near the border with Nigeria where Cameroonian forces have been fighting the insurgency by the Islamic extremists of Boko Haram.

President Paul Biya founded the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement on March 24, 1985 and has ruled ever since.

Opposition figures and rights activists say the octogenarian president is a dictator whose party monopolizes all the power in the country.

Government officials laud the party for building schools and hospitals.

The opposition maintains that the leadership has failed to create the necessary jobs for this West African nation of 21 million.