Honor and Loyalty : CAMEROONIAN ARMY: Honour, Loyalty and Allegiance to the Nation

From its creation in November 1959 to date, the Cameroonian Army has always proven to be a republican force constantlyon the move, fully committed to the accomplishment of its statutory missions of preserving the integrity of the national territory, and securing our people and property.

These missions which are carried out successively, alternatively or concomitantly, imply that at more or less regular intervals, several developments are integrated into the doctrinal and operational concepts of our Army, developments themselves made necessary by the imperative of adaptation to the upheavals occurring in the areas of subversive protest, geopolitics, and organised crime.

Soon after Cameroon's accession to international sovereignty, the pacification of areas of the national territory in which the authority of the State was contested by armed movementswas the first task assigned to our Army. The latter then experimented with its know-how in terms of area control, in particular by reuniting the people hitherto scattered in hard-to-reach villages, thus at the mercy of rebel abuses. As such, the strategic hamlets participated in guaranteeing their security.

This period also gave the Cameroonian Army the opportunity to lay the groundwork for its civil-military actions, such as the opening up of what was still known asthe hinterland, the opening of barrack schools to children from civilian families, as well as the provision of free health care to the people.

At the very beginning of the 1980s, and following the outbreak of the territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi peninsula, henceforth the challenge is the firm defence of the national territory. In addition to the multidimensional capacity building that this change in its employment doctrine entailed, the Cameroonian Army took its first steps in what was later called “inter-armisation”. The National Gendarmerie, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy werethen deployed together in the peninsula and its surroundings.

But this dispute of conventional configuration was still pending that already, the phenomenon of highway robbers emerged. We then went on from fortifying positions on the line of contact, to disseminating light mobile units, a mechanism conducive for encounter combat, with thugs who had to be flushed out from the smallest groves of the peri-Sahelian region of our country.

It is, moreover, an identical modus operandi that is in use to combat terrorism in some of our administrative regions, a mode ofoperation that stands out once again for its formidable efficiency. In fact, the permanent, visible and widespread presence of our soldiers on the ground has the gift of instilling a sense of security among people free to engage in their livelihood activities.

For the same reason, the widespread, unstable and dynamic nature of our capacities for action, while preventing the concentration of seditious elements in anticipation of possible massive frontal attacks, deprives them of any territorial guarantee of which they could claim possession.

However, the Cameroonian Army is far from resting on its past victories, as new challenges loom in a geopolitical and geostrategic horizon full of uncertainties, challenges that it will be necessary at best to anticipate, and at worst to counter. This perspective alone already makes it possible to envisage the need for future doctrinal and operational developments. /-

Navy Captain

ATONFACK GUEMO,

Head of Communication Division - MINDEF