Fruitful Army-Nation Synergy

Activities marking the 52nd edition of the National Day in Cameroon will reach the culminating point on 20 May, 2024 with military and civilian match past across the country.

Each year, the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the defence force selects a theme around which the event evolves. As an event to mark the key importance of national unity and the fundamental place of territorial integrity, the role of the national defence forces in safeguarding the lives of citizens and property logically takes a central position in the choice of National Day theme. This year has not been different. “Army and Nation: Together for a United, Peaceful and Prosperous Cameroon,” has been chosen by President Paul Biya. The entire nation is expected to reflect the intrinsic values that it inspires for the country. This simply means consolidating the theme by making it a reality throughout the weeklong activities ahead of the National Day and show-casing its impact on Cameroon.    
The past few years have been marked by several conflictual incidents in the country that have called for nerve-wrecking pressure as well as strong and tactical intervention from the various elements of the defence forces to ensure peace and stability. Beginning with the extremist Boko Haram sect some 10 years ago in the Far North Region, the refugee influx in the East and Northern Regions of the country and since 2017 the unrest in the South West and North West regions. The most recent crisis in the two English speaking regions has unfortunately taken an arm-twist with individuals taking up weaponry against the state with the consequence that several innocent lives have been lost, property destroyed, and several people sent out of their homes, running onto the streets or other regions in search of safety. The thousands of internally displaced people illustrate the danger of war with children forcefully cut off from their parents and education and future heavily compromised.    
The asymmetric nature of the conflicts has made it indispensable for population to join hands with the defence forces through frank and unwavering collaboration in order to produce the required results. Through the creation of vigilante groups and some of their members even sacrificing their lives at the service of the nation so that the national boundaries could be protected and Cameroon regain its admired peace and stability. Civil society organisations, local leaders and traditional rulers have also been active across the country offering vital information to the security forces to be able to fish out any lingering hoodlums from the population. This has obviously not been an easy task given the number of weapons already in the wrong hands. Especially in the restive South West and North West regions and even in the Far North where children were often hook-winked to serve as suicide bombers. The results of such sincere collaboration has been that Boko Haram is today reduced to hit-and-run sporadic attacks. Those who escaped from their villages at the peak of the Anglophone crisis have either returned home or are progressively doing so.     
In its efforts to ensure confidence-building and create a lasting bond with the citizens, the defence forces have not only been active...



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