Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, has created a new military command region in Bamenda, chief town of the North West region.
The new military unit, pundits say, will cater for security needs of the two restive North West and South West regions-all of which have have been mired in secessionist violence since last year.
Cameroon’s Defense ministry said on Thursday that the regionss “meet the security challenges of the hour the objective being to bring the army closer to the people”. According to the Presidential decree, the unit will be headed by General Agha Robinson Ndong while General Julius Caesar Ellie has been appointed commander of its Gendarmerie region (RG5).
The decree also created a number of other top security units, such as the Gendarmerie Fifth Region Road Traffic Group, which includes the Bamenda Motorized Road Squadron, the Nkambe Motorized Road Squadron and the Motorized Road Squandron in Bafoussam, in addition to the Motorized Road Squadron in the south-west city of Buea.
Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions, for more than a year now, have been the hub of social unrest, initially of a corporate character by teachers and lawyers, which later turned into a political crisis, with secessionist inclinations.
For three months, support for secession has increased acts of violence and vandalism, aside from the killing of law enforcement agents, thirty of them already killed. Secessionists have also resorted to abducting local authorities, the latest of which is the Divitional Officer of Batibo, Namata Diteng, who is still missing.
Despite the escalating violence, government has insisted that the region remains secured and has declared the separatists, terrorists. Last month, Nigeria deported about 47 separatists to Yaounde, the deportees included a known separatist leader, Julius Sisuku Ayuk Tabe.
Nigeria has also been bearing the brunt of the crisis in Cameroon with the continuing influx of refugees. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has reported that thousands of people have arrived in Nigeria over the past few months.