Besides its military mission of facilitating deployment and movement of troops, it has become a key actor in socio-economic development.
The Director of the Military Engineering Corps, Colonel Jackson Kamgain told Cameroon Tribune in his office that, «The Military Engineering Corps is well prepared for 2017 National Day celebration. We started preparing for the event since January 2017. We have brought back some equipment from worksites around the country.»
The declaration points to the fact that the Military Engineering Corps is busy on the field carrying out projects for military use and more importantly for the general socio-economic development of the country. One of the key projects is the ongoing tarring of the World Bank-financed 205 kilometres Mora-Dabanga-Kousseri road in the Far North Region. A project information sheet from the Department of Military Engineering Corps indicates that engineers and technicians of the corps are currently engaged in the construction of the sports ground (Parcours Vita) in Ngaoundere, second phase of construction of roads in Maroua. Other ongoing projects include the fishermen village in Isangele and maintenance of the Mundemba-Isangele-Akwa road all in the Bakassi area, Japoma road in Douala, Bertoua modern market, Sangmelima modern market and digging of roads in the Ndonko production basin in Meyomessala.
Some of the major projects completed around 2014- 2015 include construction of classrooms in the Far North Region, Dike Maga-Logone, first phase of constructing roads in Maroua, buildings in the University of Yaounde I.
While carrying out infrastructure development, the Military Engineering Corps has remained steadfast to its key missions that include participation in direct combat, support to mobility, assistance in emergency deployment, assistance in movements, re-establishment in certain zones, as well as uprooting and destruction of landmines.
Colonel Jackson Kamgain: « We Are Carrying Out Many Projects »
Director of the Military Engineering Corps.
The Military Engineering Corps has been playing one of the leading roles in the development of Cameroon. What are some of the key infrastructure and socio-economic projects you are executing on the field ?
As of today, we have many projects going on around the country. We have just started tarring the road from Mora - Dabanga to Kousseri of about 205 kilometres. The particularity of the project is that it is the World Bank that is financing it. It is the first time in the world that the World Bank has decided to finance the army to carry out a project. They are doing this in Cameroon with the hope that if it goes well, the World Bank will do the same thing in other countries. In the Bakassi area, we are implanting pilons of 115 metres high and we have four of them. We have finished building the Fishermen’s village in Isangele and we still have the Mundemba-Isangele-Akwa road also in the Bakassi area. We are building a modern market in Bertoua and 90 per cent of the work has been done. We have the modern market in Sangmelima which is 95 per cent done. There is also the Japoma road in Douala which is 55 per cent done and Boulevard de le République in Douala which is 60 per cent done.
What o projects do you have in perspective ?
What I will tell you is that we do not look for the projects. We do not bid for contracts. It is the government that gives us projects. For us, these are not projects but missions. In 2013, the Head of State provided the Military Engineering Corps with more than 155 machines and other equipment. These are the equipment we are using to do work throughout the country. You will understand that we have gone beyond the construction of roads. We also do water supply and other projects. For us, the perspective is that of the government. I am quite sure that as at now, the government has realised that it can do a lot with the Military Engineering Corps. We can do the work faster, in difficult environments and cheaper. That is probably why most ministries are now soliciting the Military Engineering Corps to carry out their projects.
How qualified and competent are your staff for the daunting development mission ?
Over 90 per cent of the military officers are civil engineers. They were first of all trained as engineers before joining the military. For the non-commissioned military staff, they obtained technical certificates before joining the military. We also have a military engineering training school in Douala where we train and upgrade the skills of our technicians.