Regional Governors, security and defence forces on mission to curb the dangerous practice.
The Governors of Cameroon’s 10 Regions are now intensifying efforts to implement the directives of government that put them at the heart of ensuring the country’s security.
One key aspect for the cherished security ambition to be attained is fighting against the illicit trafficking proliferation, circulation, manufacture and use of arms and ammunition.
Territorial Administration and Decentralisation Minister (MINATD), René Emmanuel Sadi during the closing ceremony of the first semester conference of Regional Governors for 2017 in Yaounde last July 27, instructed the Governors to go a step further by compiling the list of all holders of arms in their respective regions and transmit to the ministry.
He also instructed them to ensure the strict implementation of the Law N°. 2016/015 of 1 December 2016 governing arms and ammunition in Cameroon. The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, Jean Baptiste Bokam made a succinct presentation of the law during the conference.
The Adamawa, East, North West, West and Far North Regions from reports are the nerve centres of the circulation and use of arms in the country. According to the Governor of the Adamawa Region, Kildadi Taguieke Boukar, the region has long and porous borders with Cameroon’s restive neighbours such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Chad.
Rebels and armed men from these countries often cross into Cameroon with arms which they use to terrorise, harm and kidnap the population. The East region in particular faces the problem of refugees crossing from the Central African Republic, some of whom are infiltrated by dangerous armed men from the different rebel groups.
The West and North West Regions are noted for the fabrication and use of firearms during funeral ceremonies. The arms at times are used during inter-village conflicts and do get into the hands of armed bandits.
Administrative authorities are henceforth on the field with new strategies to fight and bring order in phenomenon of the illicit trafficking, proliferation, circulation, manufacture and use of arms and ammunition. Some Regional Governors who are the main actors on the field in this focus explain how they have been carrying out the fight.
Kildadi Taguieke Boukar: “Security Forces Carry Out Control Missions”
Governor of the Adamawa Region
“We have borders with Cameroon’s neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Chad. Formerly in Chad, there was insecurity caused by uprisings after which rebels crossed to Cameroon with arms. Right now bandits have been using the arms to terrorise, harm and kidnap our population around the Mayo- Banyo and Faro et Deo Divisions.
Along the border with Nigeria, we have all kinds of trafficking such as arms, petrol and drugs. The insecurity in the Central African Republic has caused the flow of people into Cameroon seeking for refuge. Some times, they have with them arms which they use to kidnap the local population and ask ransom from them. We are alert. The forces of law and order are on the alert and sometimes they carry out control missions on the field to curb the situation.”
Augustine Awa Fonka: « Il faut respecter la loi »
Gouverneur de la région de l’Ouest
« Auparavant, les gens portaient les armes pour afficher leur honneur, leur culture et prestige. Mais ces derniers temps, les armes sont tombées entre les mains des bandits et c’est devenu un problème. La plupart des braquages que vous observez aujourd’hui sont perpétrés avec des armes modernes ou de fabrication artisanale. Il y a une nouvelle loi qui réglemente la gestion des armes et des munitions. On attend les décrets d’application. Pour le moment, seul le ministre de l’Administration territoriale et de la Décentralisation autorise l’achat et la détention de ces armes et munitions. Nous avons constaté que la plupart des populations portent les armes sans avoir l’autorisation de le faire. C’est à nous de nous assurer que les lois en vigueur sont rigoureusement appliquées. Même les chefs traditionnels qui utilisent sans autorisation ces armes pour des cérémonies traditionnelles sont passibles de poursuites car, nul n’est censé ignorer la loi et la loi est au dessus de tout le monde. Les gens doivent respecter les nouvelles dispositions par rapport à la loi. »
Naseri Paul Bea: «Authorisation To Buy Arms Has Been Limited »
Governor the Centre Region
«The issuance of the authorisation to buy arms has been limited. Secondly, the use of arms during traditional manifestations, especially in the North West and West Regions, have been regulated and only guns using gun powder have been authorised. The law of 14 December 2016 clearly defines the regulations on the use and carrying of arms. The administrative authorities have to sensitise the population and traditional leaders on the use of arms during such cultural manifestations. Those who manufacture the arms also have to declare to the public authorities the type of arms they produce and make sure that the provisions have been provided for the manufacture. One cannot just go to any village and start producing the arms without any declaration and authorisation.
Bernard Okalia Bilai: « We Have Intensified Patrols »
Governor of the South West Region
«The situation of illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition in the South West Region is that we are controlling the various entry points. We are controlling because we are facing threats. We have a long maritime and land border Nigeria. We have intensified patrols because arms and ammunition are our fight target. We are receiving threats from some secessionists, so we have to be very vigilant. We need to intensify the various controls and for us to do it, we need to be reinforced. We need equipment. »