Cameroon Army Sets Up New Bases To Face Growing Boko Haram Activity

Kidnapping, cattle rustling and other terrorist-connected activity has inreased over the last three years, the military has increased the strength and size of its bases in the Adamawa region of the country.

The threat from Boko Haram is growing in Cameroon, according to military officials, who announced they have set up bigger, stronger military bases to fight it.

Cameroon has seen an increase in kidnapping and cattle rustling over the past three years, according to the elite Rapid Intervention Battalion of the Cameroon army, popularly known by the French acronym BIR. They announced they have built five new bases to fight kidnapping and terrorism in the Adamawa region.

Kidnappings for ransom and cattle rustling are part of the modus operandi of the Boko Haram terrorists in the northern regions of Cameroon.

The new bases have been installed in Kontcha sub division of Faro-et-Deo division, Bankim a Sonkolong and Mayo Darle in Mayo Banyo division, Martap in Vina division and Dir in Mbere division.

According to battalion commander, Guy Herve Onambele Mendouga, the assistant controller general of BIR, the creation of the five bases is in line with a new strategy of the Cameroonian army high command to combat the increasing acts of insecurity in the divisions concerned.

ā€œThe high command has demanded that a close proximity security network be put in place, with fortified bases manned by one hundred personnel equipped with the latest generation of armaments, autonomous in electrical energy and water, with very strong mobility. These proximity operational units, which at the same time have the force and mobility have an ultimate objective: a peaceful environment for the populationā€, Onambele Mendouga revealed.

Official figures indicate that for the past three years, there has been a marked increase in acts of hostage-taking and theft of cattle in the areas where the new bases have been established.

The BIR official also explained that in the past, micro-detachments made up of two to six elements carried out patrols but the high command quickly realised that the threat had widened and the Cameroon army could no longer efficiently respond to the threat.

ā€œThat is the reason why definitive and permanent posts have been put in place for stronger responses to the threat. That is the reasoning behind the putting in place of these autonomous and tactical bases with one hundred soldiers equipped with mobile material and latest technology armamentsā€, the BIR official said.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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