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US to withdraw troops from Cameroon

(file) US troops and Cameroon special forces in military drill

Defence officials in the United States has said it is looking to withdraw hundreds of its troops from Africa as the Trump administration focuses its attention on threats from Russia and  China.

One of such countries to be affected by this decision is Cameroon where the US wouls start withdrawing troops but reserve the right to return if need be.

“We’re not walking away,(we would)reserve the right to unilaterally return( if needed to protect American interests),”the leader of the United States Africa Command, General Thomas Waldhauser, told the New York Times.

The withdrawal “will include the departure of hundreds of Special Operations troops and their support forces. It will begin in places like Cameroon, where American war planners believe their efforts to train that country’s special operations forces have been largely successful,” he said.

The United States have about 300 soldiers in Cameroon who are mainly specialised in training Cameroonian soldiers in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North of the country.

But General Thomas Waldhauser beleieves Cameroon forces have improved and no longer need American forces to accompany them on their missions.

The US provided $220 million military aid to Cameroon between 2012 and 2016 to help the country combat threats of terrorism from Boko Haram in the North of Cameroon. Much of these funds went into training and equipping Cameroon’s military and police ($83 million), peacekeeping operations ($74 million), Building Partner Capacity ($24 million), and Counter-Drug Assistance ($11 million), according to the Monitor.

However, several internation NGOs have pressured the US to withdraw it troops from Cameroon since the crisis in the North West and South West regions started, accusing the Cameroon army of using military equipment donated by the US to kill unarmed civilians.

Earlier this year, the US donated two military aircraft to the Cameronian army with the US Ambassador to Cameroon warning the equipment were strictly destined to the Northern part of the country to fight Boko Haram.

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