Texts signed by the Head of State on 21 February, 2018 clearly underline the desire to protect better the national territory.
Cameroon now has five Military Regions instead of four that existed until Wednesday 21 February, 2018. The signing of a series of Presidential Decrees reorganising the defence forces and appointing new defence officials in the country have divided the second Military Regions into two with Douala now having only the South West Regions while the North West and West Regions have been detached from the unit and henceforth constitute the Fifth Military Region with headquarters in Bamenda.
To those who have been following declarations by President Paul Biya concerning the unfolding events across the country, especially in the North West and South West Regions, the move on Wednesday was logical.
Addressing Cameroonians on 31 December, 2017 on the state of the Nation’s message, the Head of State pointed out; “I am aware that the wish of every Cameroonian of good will is to see an end to tensions in the North-West and South-West Regions and a return to normalcy.
The vast majority of Cameroonians aspire to live together in peace.” In order to ensure that there is peace and security across the country in the face of instances of arson and killings reported in the two regions as well as the security threats in the Far North and East Regions, the Head of State had to do something. In addition, the situation in the North West and South West Regions had continued in spite of measures taken by Government to ensure peace and enable children resume school under normal conditions.
In presenting a diagnosis of the growing tension, President Biya in his New Year message to Cameroonians explained that, “We all witnessed the seriousness of the spillover. The symbols of the Republic were desecrated. Our children’s education was compromised by criminal arsonists who did not hesitate to burn down schools and attack students. Economic and social activities were disrupted by irresponsible strike calls imposed on the population through threats, intimidation and violence.
Bomb attacks were carried out. Many of our compatriots lost their lives in violence perpetrated by secessionists. Members of our defence and security forces were assassinated in cold blood in the line of duty,” adding that, “As I reminded you recently, it is my duty to ensure republican order, social peace, the unity of the Nation and Cameroon’s integrity.” Recent events on the ground have reinforced the Head of State’s assessment that a greater determination and the reorganisation of the defence services are required to get the desired results.
Given the election stakes this year with Cameroon gearing up for Senatorial elections on 25 March, 2018 as well as the Presidential and other polls, there is the urgent concern to ensure that such crucial consultations be carried out within a safe and stable atmosphere.
Thus, the rewarding synergy between the army and the population which has produced palpable outcomes in the fight against the extremist Boko Haram in the Far North will be expected to work the same magic in all other restive parts of the country. Cameroon cannot afford to continue seeing the blood of innocent citizens, be they soldiers or civilians being spilt no matter the reasons. Many are therefore hoping that the new impetus being given by the Commander- in-Chief of the Defence Forces should be able to galvanise the troops and the entire nation towards building a more stable and strong Cameroon .