Armed ViolenceNews

Cameroon President Rewards Boko Haram Ex-combatants

Former members of the Boko Haram terrorist group who had laid down their arms were Monday, Feb. 1 presented with materials from President Paul Biya of Cameroon as parts of measures intended to accelerate their reinsertion into society.

The gifts which were presented to the former fighters in the Meri Council, far northern region of Cameroon included “sewing machines, wheelbarrows, freezers, refrigerators, a motorbike, photocopying machines, boots, masks against dust. The material gifts, according to government officials, were to “enable them to return to their feet.”

A spokesperson for the ex-combatants who declined to give his name said the materials would enable the recipients “to contribute towards the economic development of Cameroon and the promotion of living together.”

The spokesperson of the former Boko Haram fighters reaffirmed the determination of his colleagues “to do whatever is possible to invite those who are still at large to report to the Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reinsertion (DDR) Centre in Meri which today offers them the best conditions to return to a normal life.”

Camille Mouthe a Bidias, Cameroon’s Director-General of the National Employment Fund, who took part in the ceremony promised to “within a few days send a team to study how-to guide and train the former fighters in order to open opportunities for employment to those who have chosen a peaceful life.”

Also present at the ceremony which many described as a welcome development were the Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakari, the Minister of Youth and Civic Education, Mounouna Foutsou, the Minister of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy and Artisan, Achille Bassilekin III and the Minister of Employment and Professional Training, Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

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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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