Maureen Renfro's Blog: Cameroon Recruits 20,000 Defence & Security Forces To Fight Boko Haram & Restore Security In The Border Areas

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cameroon Recruits 20,000 Defence & Security Forces To Fight Boko Haram & Restore Security In The Border Areas

LAGOS — Cameroon has said it is recruiting 20,000 more defence and security forces to fight Boko Haram following reports that the terrorist group, based in Nigeria, is recruiting young Cameroonians to fight for them. This is just as nine persons were killed, including two suicide bombers, as multiple bomb explosions rocked Yobe and Gombe states on the eve and new year day, while 10 others were injured.

Senator Haman Paul, who hails from northern Cameroon, told VOA about Boko Haram’s recruitment of young Cameroonians to fight for the creation of an Islamist caliphate in northern Nigeria.
“That was something that we witnessed in Maroua (in northern Cameroon). People told us that they found people in town that were not actually people they were used to. When we found that one part of the country is in a very delicate situation, it is better to manage prevention instead of consequences,” said Paul.

Another lawmaker from northern Cameroon, Sali Dairou, said that just last week Boko Haram seized cattle from Cameroonian ranchers who lived along the border with Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states, adding that the ranchers have lost thousands of cattle. Dairou said the militants also killed some of the cattle ranchers, while thousands of their cows went into the wild. He said this was a huge loss, adding that no rancher has the courage to go to the boundary with Nigeria to bring back his remaining cattle.

Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, said the threat posed by Boko Haram had led many people from the border areas to flee. He said northern Cameroon was the hardest hit as many schools have remained closed and people are abandoning their farms and cattle.
Sadi said Boko Haram has paralyzed trade between Cameroon and Nigeria that has supplied 80 per cent of foodstuff and basic necessities to northern Cameroon since the two countries gained independence more than five decades ago.Commercial activities halted He said in addition to the woes of the economy of northern Cameroon was the fact that Nigerian fuel, which is widely used, was no longer available while business transactions and commercial activities had been completely halted by Boko Haram.

Cameroon’s Defence Minister, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, said besides the economic hardship, atrocities committed by the militant group have led to a massive movement of more than 30,000 villagers to areas of the country away from the border. He said fear gripped the people when Boko Haram started arresting and publicly killing religious leaders and chiefs who collaborate with the government of Cameroon in some villages that neighbour Nigeria’s Borno state. Effect of unrest
Another effect of the unrest has been that commercial banks are unable to recover loans granted to farmers and cattle ranchers and now have decided not to give loans to people along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.

Cameroon’s Police chief, Martin Mbarga Nguelle, said that the country had decided to recruit some 20,000 defence and security forces to fight and restore security in the border areas. He said Cameroonian President Paul Biya had instructed him to recruit 4,700 policemen this year and 5,000 next year. The military is also recruiting at least 6,000 Cameroonian youths this year. Cameroon joined Nigeria, Benin, Chad and Niger in sharing intelligence and border surveillance. Cameroon is working with the four African nations plus the United States, France, China and Germany in a new regional African effort against the extreme Islamists.