President Paul Biya and other state authorities recently paid last respect to four military officials who died in last January 22, 2017 helicopter crash in the Far North region.
The solemn ceremony at the military headquarters in Yaounde was filled with emotions as the various state dignitaries took turns to bid farewell to the fallen soldiers. During the ceremony, President Paul Biya who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces elevated the deceased soldiers to higher ranks and gave them special decorations, a move described as a “symbol of the sympathy of the entire nation.”
Going by the posthumous decorations, Brigadier General Kodji Jacob was raised to the rank of Major General with Colonel Kameni Alphonse conferred the rank of Brigadier General. Lieutenants Chinda Mu Tankam Brice Aurelien and Souloukna Ngrassou Basile were raised to the rank of Captain.
While comforting the bereaved families, President Paul Biya pledged that the nation will continue to hold the fallen soldiers in high esteem and will ensure that they have all their due benefits as stipulated by the law. President Biya called on all Cameroonians to emulate the example of the fallen soldiers and maintain the bond of unity that binds Cameroon as a one and indivisible entity. He saluted the bravery of the deceased soldiers, describing them as “fallen heroes.”
The Head of State also said the demise of the four military officers was a brutal and irreparable loss. He pointed out that Major General Kodji Jacob, who was Commander of the Fourth Combined Services Military Region, was leading Operation Emergence 4 against the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“He knew how to respond appropriately to the acts perpetrated by this barbaric organization. Through the system put in place, he helped secure the border with Nigeria, maintained synergy between the forces waging war against Boko Haram and significantly reduced attacks and hostage-taking” said President Biya.
This outstanding General, he continued, had a promising future. He said his untimely death has created a huge vacuum in the upper echelons of our armed forces. “However, his example will inspire future generations of service men and women in our country” added Biya.
Brigadier General Nkameni Alphonse, deceased Commander of the Fourth Gendarmerie Military Region, Biya said, was specifically responsible for homeland security issues. He said he was entrusted with the delicate task of liaising with the population, especially the vigilante groups. “He played a key role in stirring the patriotic fervour demonstrated by the inhabitants of the areas under threat. He deserves well of the nation” Biya continued.
It should be recalled that the four military officials died following a helicopter crash near Bogo, a village in the Far North region, while on an inspection mission. General Jacob Kodji, the highest officials amongst the four who perished, was leader of Emergence 4, the name given to one of the operations launched by Cameroon against Boko Haram.
As the fight against the Nigerian jihadists raged, Kodji was promoted in August 2015 to the rank of General by President Paul Biya. He is the first Cameroonian General to die in the battle against Boko Haram. Boko Haram’s brutal insurgency, launched in northern Nigeria in 2009, has spread across the border to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
At least 20,000 people have been killed and some 2.6 million displaced in the violence.Nigeria announced a key victory against Boko Haram jihadists in December, claiming the group had been routed from its Sambisa Forest bastion. Cameroonian defense ministry spokesman, Col. Didier Badjeck also stated recently that the war against Boko Haram is almost over.