Helicopter crash of January 22, 2017: The Struggle Must Continue!
The just-ended weekend was devoted to burials, in their various birthplaces, of the officers who died in the helicopter crash of January 22, 2017; thus ending a page in the history of their participation in the effort to defeat the notorious Boko Haram insurgents. Two very essential officers died in the crash and many are founded in their belief that the crash could have been a deadly blow on the entire strategic effort to defeat the neferocious sect. The role of the two most senior general officers was certainly very crucial in giving the final assault to the insurgents. Take Major General Jacob Kodji. As Commander of the fourth Combined Services Military Region, including the administrative unit of the Far-North Region and parts of the North Region, he was the general officer heading the Operation Emergence 4 whose task was to fight the Boko Haram sect. The testimony of the Supreme Commander speaks volumes about his ability to creditably execute his duties and as the President of the Republic acknowledged in his tribute of last Friday, “he knew how to respond appropriately to the acts perpetrated by the barbaric organization…. Through the system put in place, he helped secure the border with Nigeria, maintain synergy between the forces waging war against Boko haram and significantly reduce attacks and hostage-taking.” With regard to Brigadier Alphonse Nkameni, he, as Commander of the Fourth Gendarmerie Region, was specifically responsible for homeland security issues. His citation recalled that “he was entrusted with the delicate task of liaising with the population, especially the vigilante groups… He played a key role in stirring the patriotic fervor demonstrated by the inhabitants of the areas under threat”. From the foregoing, one must admit that some of the finest officers of the Cameroonian armed forces and, more importantly brave soldiers at the front are gone. The begging question is how to get capable replacements for these fallen heroes. Before these officers fell, several others had been killed. Just about at the same time last year, the Cameroonian forces registered the first deaths of a superior officer, killed by the explosion of a land mine as he returned from duty. Several others have been killed in similar circumstances, but these deaths have never really impacted negatively on the desire by our valiant forcers to defeat the insurgents. Rather, these incidents have become stimulants in the determination to overcome the sect. Of course, in recent weeks, there have been reported attacks by Boko Haram, especially through bomb blasts in markets, mosques and other areas of spontaneous gatherings. But this is simply an expression of the distraught situation in which the sect finds itself as it is virtually being totally wiped out especially with the combined efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force which has been in an upbeat posture of late with numerous repeated defeats of the sect in several fronts. The four officers died when many indications were coming to announce the final demise of the terrorist groups. It is not therefore at this time that our forces should renege on the effort to bring the culprits down to their knees. The struggle must take a heightened form even if simply to reward the fallen soldiers for their sacrifice.