Cameroon and Nigeria: inexorably linked NEXTDOOR neighbours

Cameroon and Nigeria: inextricably linked NEXTDOOR neighbours

25 March, 2014
Anne Look / Moki Edwin Kindzeka

As the Nigerian military battles Boko
Haram in the northeast, its government said militants are finding safe havens in neighboring countries and then mounting cross-border attacks into Nigeria.

Nigeria’s neighbors are faced with a difficult question: How do they crack down on this trend without also making themselves targets of attack? Northeastern Nigeria borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.It’s a long, porous border stretching more than 500 kilometers. The border is difficult to secure, something Boko Haram is believed to have taken advantage of it for years.

Niger and Cameroon are of particular
concern. In Niger, the regional capital Diffa is just across the border from Nigeria’s Borno state, the epicenter of the insurgency. The prefect of the Diffa region, Inoussa Saouna, said the town is on the “frontline.” He said Boko Haram is a constant threat.

For now, they have not been able to
carry out operations in Niger, but there is a lot of cross-border movement of people, given how close they are and given the fact that communities on both sides of the border share languages, ethnicities and even familial ties.

In February, Niger’s military said
authorities arrested 20 Nigerian Boko
Haram militants allegedly plotting
attacks on Diffa. Since Nigeria mounted an offensive against Boko Haram last May, nearly 60,000 people have fled the northeast for neighboring countries. Most of them
have gone to Niger. The flow of refugees raises additional concerns of infiltration.

In Cameroon, there is concern that Boko Haram has camps in the hilly border areas and could be recruiting. Hamaounde Mohaman, the imam of a
mosque in the Cameroonian town of
Kolofata on the border with Nigeria,
says Boko Haram recruits there. He said they come and meet traditional chiefs and go through them to recruit.

He said there are young people there doing absolutely nothing, and Boko Haram takes advantage of that. They come and take them to train them. They use them to bring them food, money and other things. The government is saying nothing.

Sanusi Ibrahim, a Boko Haram preacher from Borno State, was detained for three months by Cameroonian authorities. A VOA reporter interviewed Ibrahim this
month in Cameroon’s Far North region. Asked if he is recruiting there, Ibrahim said he is “just preaching.”

“I am here to preach the message of Allah. I just transmit the message of Islam. I am preaching the message of Islam and well, I am Boko Haram, but I am there just to preach the message of Allah,” he stated.

Nigeria has closed part of its border with Cameroon, saying militants were using it as a way to sneak back into Nigeria to carry out attacks. There have been several recent attacks
on Nigerian villages near the border
with Cameroon.

There also have been two incidents this month in the Cameroon town of Kousseri near the borders with Nigeria and Chad. At least one soldier was killed. Authorities blamed Boko Haram. The Cameroonians have ramped up their border patrols and security since last year. Nigeria has called on them to do more.

Cameroon’s Communications Minister,
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said Cameroon
would never be “complacent or lenient” in the face of a regional terrorist threat. “Let me say here that such allegations are irresponsible and ungrounded. Cameroon is a peace-loving country. As such,there is no way that it can encourage the development of violence in other countries and especially neighboring countries. We all know the saying that when the neighbor’s house is consumed by fire, there is a risk that we will see sparks,” said Bakary.

Analysts say it is a question of resources, and Nigeria’s neighbors don’t necessarily have the money or the manpower to put toward something some still see as a “Nigeria problem.”

Boko Haram has mounted very few operations outside Nigeria. Boko Haram has carried out two separate kidnappings of Westerners in Cameroon, but the militants have
otherwise left that country alone.That could change if Cameroon takes a more aggressive stance


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. WachanGuy says:

    I’m sorry but why is this guy still alive to mouth off? Arrest,interrogate and execute should be the norm for such psychologically-ingrained operatives. This ain’t no police action, we are at WAR! An unconventional one as well, so throw out the rule books and give these BH lads some of their own medicine! Forget what AI and co will say and bite the bullet before the same bullet is used to ignite the keg of gunpowder called Nigeria

  2. Blackrev says:

    this article seems ti me like warning neighboring countries to back off from preventing boko haram to use their territory as safe havens. rubbish

  3. Yagazie says:

    So our neighbours see BH insurgency as a ‘Nigerian problem’- and don’t want to risk the wrath of BH insurgents mounting attacks in their country hence they keep quiet and ignore the problem. Who can blame them?

    Simply put our neigbours now fear BH insurgents more than the wrath of Nigeria’s millitary. A sad commentary as to how are stock has fallen within our neigbourhood.

    Gentlemen for those of us who can remember- cast your minds back to the days of apartheid and the ‘reach and capabiliities’ of the then SADF. The frontline states (Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania etc) knew that if they allowed ‘freedom fighters’ to operate from their territories to carry out attacks in the then apathied South Africa, then as sure as night follows day- Pretoria’s response would be quick, bloody and very damaging. With the possible exception of Nigeria, no other ‘frontline state’ in Southern Africa was immune from the retributive reach of the aparthied regime’s forces.

    Moving to the present day, look at Isreal, as small as it is (physical size) it’s neighbours know that if they allow rockets or millitants to operate from their territories to carry out attacks in Isreal, then Isreal will DEFINETELY RESPOND with its AWESOME MILLITARY MACHINE.

    Now I appreciate the fact that unlike in the above scenarios, we have ‘good diplomatic relations’ with our neigbours. HOWEVER, our neigbours MUST be made to fear our possible overwhelming and devasting millitary response MORE THAN the fear of any possible BH attacks in their territories. All the more reason why our millitary MUST HAVE OVERWHELMING SUPERIORITY within the sub-region.

    Yes lets pursue diplomatic channels and seek their co-operation in trying to deal with this problem. However our neigbours should also be left in no doubt as to our determination and capacity to unleash ‘retribution’ in the form of cross border pursuits and bombing of known BH camps in their territories if need be. As a former American president (Teddy Roosevelt) once said ‘we should talk softly but carry a big stick’.

    • WachanGuy says:

      Key phrase there is “OVERWHELMING SUPERIORITY”. This should apply to both BH and our neighboring states

      • Are James says:

        Thank you guys for this phrase “OVERWHELMING SUPERIORITY”
        This should be a vision statement around which we build our defence / security policy and the architecture that derives from that.
        This means the following in the hardware space:
        1. Long range 4th or 4.5 generation fighter jets of squadron strength (to keep costs down maybe just half a squadron of the most advanced jets whatever happens we need the capability)
        2. Division Strength Special forces, with long range and short range mobility and insertion apparatus-transport planes, reliable choppers, secure communications.
        3.Mature ELINT/HUMINT capabilities well integrated and with seamless integration that would be deployed across the West Africa region. – UAVs, human spies, satellite monitoring of signals and visuals, internet surveillance, et.c.
        Nigeria is relatively mature in IT and all these should not be a problem.
        Regular overflys of surveillance aircraft over Cameroon, Chad and Niger
        4.Six squadrons of mixed type subsonic fighter jets and top of the line choppers to support internal COIN operations and capable of reaching the border areas of our immediate neighbours.
        5. More funding for the ongoing research and development efforts in long range high precision rocketry; many options exist to procure near term and current efforts to be expanded. Prevision long range missiles are a credible alternative to manned combat missions.
        6. More funding to further develop the currently mature work taking place in secure inter service communications.

  4. Number one says:

    Slightly off-topic,the ex Israeli president was convicted for bribery,he was in p/h sometime back to commission the Yitzhak Rabin school,the security services should please monitor the students through to adulthood,they are future leaders of this country but also possible moles for mossad in the future.

  5. Are James says:

    This is probably being done already.
    All educational institutions supported by religious and cultural bodies are under constant security watch in Europe and the US so no reason why same is not being done in Nigeria.

  6. Deway says:

    My apology if this is not the right place to post this good news. The Pakistanis are already making a quick move for 800 US MRAPS in Afghanistan.

    • Are James says:

      Doubt the Afghans will sell all to Pakis. They are not exactly friendly countries because of ISI links to Taliban. Nigeria needs to do a lot of technical and value for money assessment before deciding whether it should buy from the abandoned war surplus and what it should buy – only proven IED protected vehicles should be procured and I suspect Uncle Sam would not leave the best of these behind.

    • jimmy says:

      the sheer hatred that exists between president karzai should be enough to stop this bad biz but based on a tv program in AMERICA called 60 minutes most of this equipment is heading to PAKISTAN…….. and the pakistan taliban.

    • jimmy says:

      Thanks RKA
      here is good news
      The only thing better than a dead terrorists is actually taking the money and food away from him. this picture shows just that.
      Another good thing we can now for sake of diplomacy now say ( wink wink nod nod) Nigerian forces are now actively involved in Cameroon with or without PAPA PAUL”‘ BLESSINGS .These towns that are just on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria are just euphemisms for ” we dey inside”

    • asorockweb says:

      Interesting article.

      This is the part that caught my eye:

      “Olukolade said two suspects believed to be major arms suppliers to the terrorists in Nigeria were also nabbed in Abugasse. They had in their possession a Toyota Jeep and over 50 Cameroonian Passports.”

      I found the “50 Cameroonian Passports” evidence of particular interest.

      A couple of theories:

      Theory 1:
      The arms dealers are also passport dealers/forgers.
      A Cameroonian passport, until very recently, will raise less suspicion, than a Nigerian, Chadian, or Libyan passport.
      Maybe criminals and illegal migrants use the fake passports to cross borders – in the region and far beyond.

      Theory 2:
      The arms dealers are just arms dealers.
      The Cameroonian passports are used by themselves and their operatives to smuggle arms from Libyan and Chad into Cameroon, Nigeria, and CAR.

      Choose your favorite theory or even add your own.

  7. Joe says:

    Completely offtopic again, forgive me, but apparently as someone previously stated the mi-34’s were sold to a buyer in NZ who “has experience operating former military helicopters”.
    Full report here:

  8. beegeagle says:

    Someone purportedly acting on behalf of the buyers actually contacted me off this board via email in February asking if I had details on the airframes and the precise condition they are in. I nuh answe am as man nuh sabi.

    But the whole angle about buyers from New Zealand is definitely very correct. I bear testimony to the fact of haven been contacted by a New Zealander as it pertains to the matter.

    • Are James says:

      Transforming Nigeria’s military has to start with some paradigm, shift. The first is to burst the idea that the defence of Nigeria is grunt work to be left to the uneducated and unskilled. So, minimum education level for a Private until our standard of education improves should be OND, basic salary should be about N180k per month (250k if the private is taking continuing education classes), there should promotion examinations for all ranks and levels, participation in two major military exercises per year, a framework of internal professional certifications-small arms, artillery type, missile type, GIS and map reading, communication, cryptography, mechanical, electrical, electronic, aerospace et.c

      The transformation and increased budget demands should be financed by (1) special security levy of 5% on all oil and gas coy,s, (2) peace keeping income, (3) defence industry profits, (4) state government or regional allocations from FG to be deducted by 0.5% for defence and inter state security (5) statutory allocation backed by a bill of the NA mandating defence expenditure of not less than 3% of GDP,

      • Deway says:

        As much as I’ll like to agree with you, you missed a vital point. Those sitting at the Ministry of Defense and know nothing about defense capabilities, force projection and military needs should be kicked out.They’ve turned our MoD to regular procurement parties with their Sri Lankan and Israeli middle men.

      • Akin Oges says:

        Thank you Deway.

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