France says to continue military cooperation with Cameroon - International

Elias Hubbard
February 9, 2019

The Trump administration will cut military aid to Cameroon due to the country's human rights violations, White House officials report.

This would include the building of new radar systems, nine armored vehicles, four defender-class patrol boats, and funding for various training programs and exercises.

An offer for Cameroon to join the State Partnership Program (SPP) has also been withdrawn.

The committee at the hearing also made it clear that funding for ongoing programs that included educational programs and other non-military training will still be continued.

The State Department official said that the United States was still offering other assistance to Cameroon, crediting its contributions both in the fight against Boko Haram and in restoring security to the piracy-ridden Gulf of Guinea. English-speaking insurgents have been fighting Cameroon forces in an effort to start a breakaway country called Ambazonia.

Biya has been accused by the opposition and rights groups of cracking down in the Anglophone Southwest region to root out armed separatists trying to end his grip on power.

A State Department official said that the United States appreciated Cameroon's contributions in fighting Boko Haram extremists from neighboring Nigeria but had concerns about a deadly crackdown on a revolt at home.

The commander of the United States' Africa Command, General Thomas Waldhauser, mentioned during the committee meeting that he felt that the alleged atrocities can not be neglected. Some 300 US troops are based in the northern town of Garoua to train and assist Cameroon's military, including in its fight against extremism. Since 2002 the United States has trained over 6 000 Cameroonian soldiers and provided millions of dollars' worth of military aid.

"We continue to urge the Cameroonian government to take all credible allegations of gross violations of human rights seriously, investigate those allegations thoroughly, hold accountable the perpetrators of such abuses, and disclose the outcome of the investigations to the people of Cameroon", a State Department official told CNN.

Hardware assistance included the delivery of two Cessna 208 Caravan intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to Cameroon's Air Force to help it combat Boko Haram militants in the region. The United State's plans to upgrade Cameroon's Elite Rapid Intervention Battalion have also been scrapped. The decision will also impact training programs for vehicle operators, including Cameroonian soldiers who were meant to learn to pilot helicopters and C-130 airplanes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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