President Biya Reorganizes Military to Combat Boko Haram

H.E Paul Biya: President and Commander-in-Chief of Cameroon Armed Forces

H.E Paul Biya: President and Commander-in-Chief of Cameroon Armed Forces

The Head of State, and Commander-in-Chief of Cameroon Armed Forces, H.E President Paul Biya has reorganized Cameroon’s Military in order to better counter the operations of the Nigerian based Islamic sect, Boko Haram in Cameroon. To this effect, President Biya signed three important decrees on Friday August 15, 2014. The decrees completely change the structure of the Cameroon Army and paramilitary by creating new military command bases and appointing new military commanders. The main goal of the reorganization is to ensure a better coverage of the national territory by security forces for the safety of Cameroonian citizens, and its national heritage. The presidential decision therefore takes the military closer to the population, for a reinforced security.

Significant Changes

The first decree creates a fourth military command region, consisting of the area of the Far North and the Mayo Louti with the command post in Maroua. Cameroon was divided into three military command regions. This new decree creates four Gendarmerie, and four combined military regions. The first combined military region is made up of the Centre, East and South Regions. Its administrative headquarters is Yaoundé. The second military region covers the Littoral, North West, West and South West Regions, with headquarters in Douala. The third military region with headquarters in Garoua covers the Adamawa and North Regions, excluding Mayo-Louti Division.

Members of Cameroon's Famous Rapid Intervention Brigade (B.I.R)

Members of Cameroon’s Famous Rapid Intervention Brigade (B.I.R)

The newly created fourth combined military region and a new gendarmerie region with command post in Maroua, will ensure security in the Mayo-Louti Division in the North Region, and the entire Far North Region. They will be headed by colonels Jacob Kodji (for the army) and Souleymanou Massokano (for the gendarmerie). The four gendarmerie regions cover the four regions with the same borders. The military regions are further divided into ten military sectors, with each corresponding to existing administrative regions. The same holds for the gendarmerie regions.

Meanwhile, the third military region now includes the remaining three administrative divisions of the North region, and the entire Adamawa region. Colonel Frédéric Ndjonkep Meyomhy was recently appointed as the new interim commander. The military configuration of the other (first and second) military regions; Yaoundé and Douala, do not change.

Another part of the reorganization in the presidential decree is the annulment of the 32nd Motorized Military Infantry now replaced by the 41st Motorized Military Infantry to be based in Kousseri (Far North region). They are now joint military sectors as they integrate other defense forces; the air force, army and other special units.

Cameroon Army on 14 July Bastille Day 2010 in France

Cameroon Army on 14 July Bastille Day 2010 in France

With the creation of the fourth military region, Far North will now have a higher proportion of men and a number of materials at its disposal, to be able to quickly counter the activities of Boko Haram. The President’s decision now reduces the poles of command, so that Maroua (extending to Mayo Louti), becomes the main pole of command against Boko Haram’s threats. Regional governors now have a competent partner on all components of the Army and the commander of the military.

Another presidential decree also appoints commanders for the newly created military units and replaces others called up to other duties.

The Prospects

The Head of state made this decision due to the security threats in the country especially in the Far North region orchestrated by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. Boko Haram has recently carried out a series of terrorist attacks in that region, and killed many Cameroonians in the process. The reorganization, and most especially the appointment of new commanders is expected to ensure a better coverage of Cameroon’s vast national territory. President Biya wants to ensure that the army responds speedily, efficiently, and in a proactive military fashion to the security challenges facing the country.


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