Cameroon and Nigeria: inexorably linked NEXTDOOR neighbours

Cameroon and Nigeria: inextricably linked NEXTDOOR neighbours

MAROUA, Cameroon
27 December 2013 (IRIN)

The authorities in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, have set up tighter border controls in the Far North region to guard against infiltration by jihadist Boko Haram fighters from neighbouring Nigeria as civilians flee insurgent attacks and a Nigerian military offensive, seeking safety across the border in Cameroon.

A rapid response military unit has also been deployed and beefed up in the northern regions and some tourist hotels now have armed guards. “We have revised our security strategy. We have registered all expatriates and
established police posts in areas where they work. There are security control posts along the border to reduce illegal entry,” said Bob-Iga Emmanuel, the head of police division at the governor’s office in the Far North region.

However, the authorities admit that it is impossible to completely secure
Cameroon’s longest border. There are also similar ethnic communities in Cameroon’s Far North and northeastern Nigeria who have family on either side of the border, speak the same language and share common culture, making undetected
cross-border movement easy.

“Our main challenge is safeguarding our borders so that we don’t import the Boko Haram problem,” said Albert Sidi, who is in charge of economic, social and cultural affairs at the Far North governor’s office. Insecurity has stifled the movement of people and trade between Cameroon’s Far North region and northeastern Nigeria – Boko Haram’s stronghold.

Northern Cameroon traders have been forced to seek markets in neighbouring Chad or other regions of the country.

Security collaboration

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Cameroon to help in combating Boko Haram militants, who have been driven out of the main cities in northeastern Nigeria. The two countries have since agreed to conduct separate but coordinated border patrols.

Some observers believe that the Islamist militants take detours through Cameroonian territory to move from one Nigerian state to another. Emmanuel said there had been a rise in arms trafficking from Chad into northern Nigeria and “many people have been arrested with guns”, but did not provide any figures.

The abduction of French nationals in
Cameroon in 2013 underscored the widening threat of gunmen linked to the Boko Haram jihadist group in Nigeria, prompting Cameroon to ramp up security.The kidnapping of a French priest in November 2013 is thought to have benefited from collusion by some local individuals.

“Border security controls cannot be one hundred percent effective, but it can reduce illegal entry,” Emmanuel

However, Cameroon is not part of the
Multinational Joint Task Force of troops from Chad, Nigeria and Niger. The task force’s mandate has been revised to include counter-terrorism since Boko Haram actions escalated from sectarian violence to Al-Qaeda-inspired jihad.


Local officials say the slow-down in trade means imported items now cost more and the prices of local products have fallen, as Nigerian bulk buyers are no longer coming to Cameroonian markets.

But the authorities hope that lower food prices will benefit the local population and ensure adequate food stocks for many in the Far North, one of Cameroon’s most deprived regions. Earlier in 2013 the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
estimated that 38,900 people were
severely food insecure and 173,000
others were moderately food insecure.

Northern Cameroon traders usually export livestock, rice, groundnuts and soya to Nigeria, and import vehicle spare parts and other industrial products, construction materials, and cosmetic and pharmaceutical products from northeastern Nigeria.

Local petrol stations are also seeing
benefits from the restricted movement as prices of contraband fuel, imported from Nigeria and known as “zua-zua”, have gone up, Sidi noted. “The supply of the contraband fuel is not as before and the prices have risen to nearly that of the official petrol station prices, so people would rather buy fuel at the pump stations,” he said.

The insecurity caused by Boko Haram is also discouraging the use of illegal border crossings. The crackdown on Boko Haram has seen the Nigerian military accused of rights abuses by rights groups.

A shoot-out near the border that killed 15 people is part of Cameroon’s attempts to send back Nigerians suspected of being Boko Haram members.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. I have a feeling its all for show. As long as FGN does not electronically spy on its region of influence this will always be the case.

  2. to4shizzle says:

    Finally our neighbours are slowly taking action, Nigeria should apply pressure and review our Bilateral Border Agreement with Cameroon to include:

    1. Joining of MNJFT

    2. Patrol of borders for illegal smuggling of arms, contraband fuel, immigrants, Boko Haram and other vices

    3. Economic Trade Route because the Cameroonians need our borders to be open

    4. Proper Registration and identification of people in border towns to certify who is Cameroonian and who isn’t so as to keep tabs on foreign travellers.

    5. Beef up on patrol outposts we can have a dedicated patrol battalion for these fashioned after the US Rangers whose duty is for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, intercept and border patrol and defence.

    Enough said, let’s make Boko Haram non-existent in all fronts.

  3. igbi says:

    This is not enough. What they should have done is to declare boko haram a terrorist organization and arrest the boko haram terrorists who have opened camps in Cameroon.
    I read a french article in the Cameroonian press a few months ago and they said that when a gunman was spotted by their security apparatus in the north, they would simply ask him what his projects are. they didn’t mention any arrest. So I have the feeling boko haram has a legal status in Cameroon. To me the strengthening of their border control is for their own security. Cameroon is playing a game of words with us and is not taking serious actions. The FGN needs to make Cameroon aware of the consequences for accommodating terrorists, there should be the threat of force if they don’t act as a responsible nation. And let us not forget that Cameroon is not a responsible nation, it is ruled by a dictator who has a long record of brutality towards political opponents. Biya has been in power for about 31 years and every Cameroonian I have spoke to in France told me they wished Nigeria would get Biya out of the way to their independence. So to me the problem with Cameroon is Biya.

    • giles says:

      my brother dat con3 hav no problem abeg o,na so dem say libya and egypt leaders are dictator.but wen dey wer removed hw ar both con3’s now.pls leave cameroun,let dem jst secure der border dats all we ask

    • Bigbrovar says:

      And what will be the consequence of inaction? How do we threaten Cameroon? What do we have that they would fear? Our advanced trainers Alpha Jets? Or the flying coffin F7s? Or maybe we would threaten them from the sea with.. errr functionally harmless NNS Thunder? The fact is we have nothing to make Cameroon quake. The best way to gain respect and inspire fear is when u completely outclass your opponents.

      This is why countries like China would unveil their aircraft carrier with much fanfare close to disputed islands with Japan as a way of saying FYI.. It is why Iran would choose a period of tension with the US to carry out test missile strikes at mock targets in the Straits of Hormuz.. Honestly what do we really have to bring Cameroon to order? The answer is nothing.

      Our best bet is to seek cooperation with them just as we did during the civil war.. soft diplomacy would work better in this case than hard (not that we even have the stuff to make hard diplomacy effective). Even the US could do nothing when Iran kept supplying weapons and training to Shia Militias during the US occupation of Iraq.. In the end they just had to reach through back channels and tried to calm things down.

      We should find a way to cajole Biya into supporting our cause if we are serious.. Bribe him if we have to.. because the truth is even if we wan form vex.. we have nothing to back that vexation.. Our military do not have the capacity to fight on two fronts.. we are just not in the position to make enemies at this point. The last thing we want is official sanction of BH through the provision of arms and training as a proxy to fend off Nigeria’s threat

      Those who have a sense of history will tell u the damage Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast cost our men with their support of RUF. We can not afford for that to happen again.

      Before we can even think to talk of threatening Cameroon, let’s first make ourselves look threatening.

  4. Spirit says:

    I sincerely hope the chiefs of staff, Madam Okonjo, the senate and GEJ read your post Bigbrovar.

  5. G8T Nigeria says:

    I don’t understand what steps you are taking in 2014 when boko haram have been operating since 2009. I really feel we are going too soft in diplomatic sickness whereas our people are been slaughtered. A man cannot take steps when he has not declared his position on an issue. Let them issue a statement first.

  6. Henry says:

    ******news just in

    On the day of the launch of the gulma drone, it seems the airforce also launched a hand-held drone, but our incompetent media did not report It.

  7. Henry says:

    Oga obix, no details yet. However, see photo in the link below.

  8. G8T Nigeria says:

    I think its a demo UAV to demonstrate how UAVs work.

  9. Henry says:

    I beg to differ @G8T nigeria. Read again the caption of the image. If it was an R.C model, the caption would have stated it.

    Oga obix, whether or not the UAV is a prototype, I can overwhelming with JOY state that the potentials of the “glider UAV” is already huge. Although we did not get the front-line fighters we so desire, we can say that 2013 has been a success for our military considering the sort of threats we face.

    The gulma UAV’s = 3
    Aerostar UAV’s. = 3
    The glider UAV
    The EOD
    Alpha jets

    Super tucanos (potential customers)

    All fixed, over-hauled, designed and manufactured by nigerian engineers. I am particularly thrilled by the glider UAV, it’s use as a vital tool for SOF missions cannot be over-emphasized or over-flogged. Picture a scenario of an 18 insertion SF team, with an eye in the sky that is a silent as the wind, that needs no runway to launch and “gossip” on the enemy. Unlike the gulma.


    • peccavi says:

      Bros I’ve been kicking around so many ideas in my head for anti BH type formations, tactics and procedures. It would be nice to have the chance to put them in action

  10. Henry says:

    NAF no sabi release press pack at all. I mean, how can a brilliant news story like this go un-noticed. Shocking I tell you.

    It so much looks like a RAVEN. Pretty impressive.

  11. rka says:

    Oga, Beeg, don’t know whether you have seen this. The Army has set up a Special Operations Command with help from the Americans.

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