Cameroon: Peacekeeping Contributor

Our country has a modest record of deploying peacekeepers in UN and African-led missions. In recent years, Cameroon’s major deployments have focused on the Central African Republic (CAR), including one company (approximately 150 troops) to the MICOPAX mission led by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). MICOPAX was superseded by the Mission Internationale de Soutien à la Centrafrique sous Conduite Africaine/African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) in 2013.Emmanuel Ngota

According to UN statistics, Cameroon increased its peacekeeping troops from 100 in 2013 to over 500 in 2014 to reach a total of 1,285 in 2015. Cameroon has also contributed troops to the Central African regional force (ECCAS Standby Force/FOMAC) since 2006, which has since been absorbed into the African Standby Force (ASF). Douala has served as the African Union’s Continental Logistics Base since 2011. In 2008, Cameroon created a training program, referred to as the International School for Security Forces (EIFORCES), for police and law enforcement contingents for peacekeeping missions. The school is modelled after the Bamako peacekeeping school in Mali and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. In April 2015, Police Commissioner Oyono (née Thom Cecile) became the new Deputy Director General of the training school, the first woman to hold the position.

Political Rationales: Peacekeeping and multilateralism has been formally part of Cameroon’s military strategy since 1979, according to a report detailing Cameroon’s 1980 employment of forces doctrine, a confidential document. The author of the report notes that this document is out of date, and that a new draft document has been put forth that outlines key principles for the future of defence in Cameroon. The status of this draft is unclear, but fear of regional conflict and the need to provide support to international peace operations are two of five key elements, positioned equally among maintaining Cameroon’s territorial integrity and preventing threats against public order. Specifically, Cameroon envisions contributing to multilateral efforts to enforce settlements between belligerent parties, such as after a ceasefire. Additionally, this doctrine notes the importance of having forces ready to be deployed for peacekeeping missions, but it is unclear if forces are kept ready for deployment to peacekeeping operations.

Security Rationales: Cameroon’s north-western border is shared with Nigeria. As of early 2015, Boko Haram fighters controlled two Nigerian provinces, Adamawa and Borno, adjacent to Cameroon. Thus far, Cameroon has been effective at defending itself from the group, but attacks along the border continue to increase. Early force deployments against Boko Haram in 2014 began with reconnaissance flights, but in 2015, the country actively engaged in ground offensives. Boko Haram is known to raid banks and take hostages when it advances through territory, posing a distinct threat to the security of Cameroon’s people. Through April 2015, attacks within Cameroon from Boko Haram have increased, killing numerous individuals. Moreover, the state’s relationship with the group may be more complicated than initially expected. Boko Haram, though condemned by the Cameroonian government, has until recently been able to thrive within the country, developing and launching attacks from local cells. On 3 February 2015, the United States Ambassador to Cameroon mentioned Washington was working on a “logistic pipeline of material” to enable the country to defend itself against Boko Haram.

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