By Doh Bertrand Nua
Cameroon has dispatched its 8th contingent of defence and security forces to the conflict-hit Central African Republic, CAR.The forces are part of the United Nation’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission, MINUSCA, which has been multiplying efforts to restore peace in the troubled neighbouring country.
Speaking as he dispatched the forces, the Minister delegate at the presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph BetiAssomo, cautioned members of the contingent to remain extremely vigilant, disciplined as well as focused on their peacekeeping mission.
Minister Beti Assomo disclosed that the traditional ceremony which hitherto held at the military headquarters brigade in Yaounde was transferred to the Motcheboum pre-deployment training centre after its creation for strategic and obvious reasons on the instructions of the Head of State, Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Minister Beti Assomo said during Tuesday’s ceremony that Cameroon occupies a flagship position in the preservation of peace in the CAR with at least 1070 of her peacekeeping officers among the 11, 650 in the current MINUSCA mission.
The dispatched contingent, Beti Assomo revealed, comprises 750 soldiers of the infantry battalion, 320 officers of the two formed police units, military observers and individual police officers occupying various positions in the MINUSCA.
The Defence boss said Cameroon’s strong representation which is much appreciated by the UN is an indication of government’s human position and operational skills of the Cameroonian military.
He said the strength of work done by Cameroonian peacekeepers forced the UN to demand an increase in the staff strength of Gendarmes from 140 to 180.The contingent is led by Colonel Pehuie Vincent.
Minister Beti Assomo used the ceremony to reiterate the commitment of government under the directives of President Paul Biya towards ensuring a return to peace and stability in CAR.
He said Cameroon recently renewed its equipment pool in the neighbouring country and urged the contingent to make good use of the equipment. The minister stated that, the maintenance of peace in the neighbouring country remains a constant preoccupation of the Head of State.
The contingent, it should be said undertook a three-month training at the Motcheboum pre-employment centre. They were drilled on UN models with courses which permit them to deal with the reality they will find on the ground.
The trainings, Beti Assomo, said, is to help build the officers who are to be deployed to be up-to-date with international disciplinary norms, respect of rules of engagement and the respect of human rights in the course of their operations.
Turning to the soldiers, Minister Assomo advised soldiers to focus on their mission while in CAR. He has challenged them to desist from filming and sharing videos of their operations on social media.
He was emphatic that defaulters will severely be punished. He disclosed that, the Military Security, SEMIL, has been incorporated into the contingent to ensure that those who violate the instructions are severely sanctioned.
He equally used the occasion to remind all soldiers who were present of the need for them to remain within the laws regulating their actions and avoid confrontations with civilians.
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