The new batch of graduates from the Combined Arms Services Military Academy, EMIA, have by now put behind them the champaign popping and festivities of Friday 21 April, 2017 following their official entry into service as cadet officers into the Cameroon defence forces. A reiteration of their mission as pointed out by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Paul Biya as he presided at the graduation ceremony will now reverberate in the minds of the fresh breed of soldiers who constitute the 35th Batch christened; “Peace and Emergence.”
Having voluntarily chosen to serve under the flag the young army officers must be fully aware of the challenges that go with words like “devotedness, bravery and sense of sacrifice” re-echoed to them by President Paul Biya last Friday. Commendable records scored by their seniors have over the years contributed in preserving the territorial integrity of Cameroon and those joining the forces today have no reasons to be different.
Although the country is currently at war from a brutish sect based across the borders, the role of the army in the protection of State institutions certainly goes beyond war times. Thus, while insisting on the hurdles of the present context which the young cadet officers will be tackling as they embark on a profession seen by many as one of “the most beautiful in the world”, the ever changing technological environment has led to new threats and approaches to combat with States scarcely facing others in classical warfare. Words such as asymmetric military tactics are creeping into military jargon and battle grounds require that strategies should be different. It was therefore not fortuitous that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces took them back to their baptismal name saying that the country could not move forward without peace and unity. Reinforcing values of peace and stability in a context where the foreign borders are invaded by threats from pirates, incursions from armed groups, hostage-takings and insensitive demands for ransom remain sufficiently challenging to any soldier no matter the level of training.
Even more complicated are repeated calls for the respect of Human Rights which have often rendered more challenging “the great and noble struggle, that of defending the territorial integrity, national unity and institutions of the republic.” Yet, the modern soldier is increasingly being invited to work in harmony with the population in order to achieve intended results.
The current war against the extremist Boko Haram sect has demonstrated how useful popular support can be in boosting the work of soldiers on the battle ground. Local vigilante groups have often gone beyond simple watchfulness to effectively investigate and alert members of the defence forces for greater efficiency. The result has been the severe casualties inflicted on the enemy by the defence forces. Although such public mobilisation has been informed by the present war context, the general trend seems to be that even when the situation appears calm, the modern soldier is increasingly being called to keep the momentum such that the harmony between the forces and the population should remain constant. That must have explained why the Head of State insisted to the graduating cadet officers that; “while the Army is the shield of the Nation, the Nation is the granite bedrock on which the Army rests.” This means their entire career should be guided by the need for peace as an instrument of development and progress.
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- 16 oct. 2018 09:40
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