Joint Army Chief Of Staff Visits Bakassi

Lieutenant General René Claude Meka’s key mission was to encourage his men on August 25, 2016.

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Under special instructions of the Head of State, President Paul Biya, the Cameroon’s Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General René Claude Meka, led a military expedition to the Bakassi Peninsula on 25 August, 2016. He was accompanied by senior military officials among whom the Second Military Region Commander (RMIA2), Major General Saly Mohamadou, and the Director of the Military Engineering Corps, Colonel Jackson Kamgain.

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The nation’s military top brass came afield in the former disputed Peninsula to inspect on-going socio-economic sensitive projects entrusted to the Cameroon Military Engineering Corps. They visited works, counted as first-phase projects, to include the 60 fishermen homes at the cost of some FCFA 640 million constructed at New-Beach Isangele, the six-kilometre laterite-soil access road, eight toilet blocks, a borehole with water reservoir driven by solar energy, all of which have been completed and are awaiting the official reception for use by the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries.

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While on the field, the Director of the Military Engineering Corps, Colonel Kamgain, explained the difficulties inherent in the Bakassi zone such that all construction materials must be shipped in from in-land sources 220 kilometres away with all what it entails as cost and effort. It may be surprising but factual to many to note that even water and sand that abound in the Peninsula cannot be used for construction because of their extremely salty nature. In 2012, a new impetus was given the Military Engineering Corps by the Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, President Paul Biya. As such, two new regiments were created for Military Engineering, more than 150 new machines were acquired and 500 specialists employed for the Corps. With the new impulsion, new projects have been assigned to the corps for quick and effective execution throughout the Cameroon territory. In Bakassi, the Corps had projects among which to construct the fishermen village at New Beach, and four telecommunications pylons in different localities of the area. Given the socio-economic importance of these projects, a close follow-up and the encouragement of the workforce on the field became imperative.     

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On August 25, 2016, General Meka rode the turbulent Bakassi waters from the Limbe shores to Rio and further Akwa and Isangele passing through many other creek villages. In addition to military engineering in Bakassi, the Chief of Staff’s strict military visit could also be observed to produce security deterrent effects in favour of the up-coming female AFCON in November, give assurance for school resumption this early September, give a ward-off signal against potential terrorists, and most especially generate confidence for the fishermen expected to populate the new fishing villages.

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