Cameroon Recruits Apply for Elite Unit to Fight Separatists, Boko Haram

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON – VOA | Cameroon said a recruitment drive for troops to fight separatists and terrorists has seen 10 times the number of needed applications, including — for the first time hundreds of former rebels.

More than 1,000 youths applauded in Yaoundé on Friday as a sign that they will be patriotic if they are recruited into the Rapid Intervention Battalion, Cameroon’s elite military force.

But it will take more than patriotism to make the cut. Colonel Alain Mvogo, a doctor in Cameroon’s military, outlined some of the medical requirements.

He said doctors and nurses are finding out if the vision, hearing and blood pressure level of all candidates meet the requirements spelled out by Cameroon military hierarchy. He said they are screening out candidates who are overweight.

Cameroon said about 21,000 youths have applied for the 2,200 positions available. In 2017, about 15,000 applied for 2,000 places.

That year, separatists attempting to create an English-speaking state in western Cameroon warned English speakers against joining the army and attacked family members of those who applied. On social media, the separatists said that death awaited any English Cameroonian who joined the military.

Despite the threats, the military said at least 4,000 English-speaking Cameroonians have registered to be recruited this year, including several hundred former insurgents.

Nineteen-year-old former fighter Gerald Minang said he wants to combat the separatists who he said are deceiving young people to carry weapons against Cameroonians. He said he escaped from a separatist camp in the northwestern town of Ndop in March 2020 and relocated to Yaoundé.

“I do not want to hide myself in the bush, taking drugs and killing people,” he said. “I want to stop the burning of schools, destroying of properties and all the rest.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ekosso Lysonge Francis is deputy national director of the Centers for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration. On a visit to the towns of Bamenda and Buea last month, he said the recruitment of former separatists shows President Paul Biya meant it when he promised pardons for fighters who drop their weapons.

He said President Biya has given firm instructions that fighters who have dropped their weapons, are of good conduct and are patriotic should be recruited into the military. He said some of the former separatists will be trained as drivers and mechanics. The DDR centers are already compiling documents to issue national identity cards to former fighters who either destroyed their identification papers or do not have them, he said.

Francis did not say how many former fighters will be recruited for the Rapid Intervention Battalion. The re-integration centers in Bamenda and Buea have about 530 members. Many of them complain that the government has not carried out its promise to give all of them jobs.

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3 comments

  1. Someone should tell these kids that the killing is real,and lrcs officials desperately need others peoples kids to be killed in Ambaland while knowing fully well that nothing short of total separation will make us to put down our arms.
    A lot of the francophone elites in yaounde would prefer to see other peoples kids get killed in this war rather than dialogue with the Ambazonians because the stand to line their pockets in several ways.
    Our fighters are living amongst our people,and in their natural environment,so if it’s lrcs wish,let those young recruits come and be sent back in special bags.

  2. **** BREAKINGNEWS ****

    “Ex Ambazonia Combatant General Nambere has expressed his anger and frustration from the disrespect and torments he goes through in the hands of the military and Cameroonian Government and he threatens to pick up arms again and get into the bushes. This happens just after about a year since he retired from the Ambazonia struggle”

    ** MY TAKE **

    Nambere aint seen nothing yet. Trust the criminals ruling LRC at your own peril.
    Nambere is now a prisoner in LRC. His passport and NIC have been seized. He can therefore NEVER EVER travel to Nigeria to visit his children and wife. He has the blood of LRC terrorists on his hands. He will sooner than later be murdered by LRC terrorists and the blame be put at the doorsteps of separatists. Nambere is a living corpse.

  3. If you have nothing to live for you can as well die for something that appears to give your life some meaning, although no one will recognise you for your effort when you are killed and buried like fly, if your corpse are found. It is wrong to encourage war and there are better ways to avert war through dialogue, through acknowledging where you went wrong. The conflict in Southern Cameroon and the blood of those shed, Amba or lrc is on the head of the dimwitted government of snoring old fools that have turned Cameroon into their playground. It is incredible how everyone in Cameroon is afraid to be heard talking of this conflict, especially if you are from the NW or SW. By hushing people’s voices, you can’t stop them from talking, you’ve only helped to make them keep information from you.

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