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Editorial Comment: Appreciable National Mobilisation

Growing cases of security challenges in Cameroon have kept the entire population disturbed over what could be the real motivation of the extremist Boko Haram sect.

With the creeping birth of the movement in Nigeria in 2009, no one could fathom the dept and extent of its aggressive and destructive spread across West and Central African. Today, over five countries, apart from Nigeria suffer from the consequences of the so-called jihadists who want to create a ‘caliphate’ or an Islamic State governed under the Sharia. Such macabre moves could not have meant much if they were not accompanied by the wanton loss of lives and property across the affected countries.

The Far North of Cameroon has been particularly hard hit with numerous hostage-taking and killing incidents. Initially, they targeted Roman Catholic clerics working in some localities of the Region as well as tourists. The result was that the Far North lost most, if not all of its economic potentials and the population that was already suffering under the yoke of poverty, was further exposed to hunger and misery.

The wrath of the insurgents has known no bounds with local authorities like the Mayor of Kolofata and even eminent personalities like the Vice Prime Minister, Amadou Ali suffering heavy toll in terms of human losses, property and the kidnapping of Vice Pm’s wife before the shrewd and sagacious intervention of the Head of State helped secure their release.

However, the energetic response by the National Defence forces has given much hope to Cameroonians, although the extremists have persisted in their harmful game. Repeated reports about the massive incursions that they continue to perpetrate on Cameroonian soil and the gory killings and fierce attacks that they mount against the military, mostly flooding into the country in their thousands, leave people bewildered about what their motivations could be. 

While some have tried to make various interpretations as to the spread and consequences of the Boko Haram invasions, there are those who have alluded to religious and political undertones to justify the group’s presence in the country. But more than anything else, President Paul Biya in addressing the issue on 31 December 2014 during his state of the nation address could not remain indifferent to the total mobilisation by Cameroonians from across the board in support of the defence forces and the choices made by the Head of State to ensure that Cameroon is safe from the sect.

Even before Parliament came out strong against aggression by the sect during the just-ended 2014 budgetary session of the Assembly, there had been motions of support from virtually all segments of the country offering encouragement and support to the Head of State, especially following his open declaration of war against the sect after the 17 May, 2014 Summit in Paris to take measures against the group. The Head of State’s decision engaged not just the army, but all Cameroonians as well in support of a foreign enemy that is increasingly threatening the nation’s integrity and sovereignty.
Most importantly, support from the northern part of the country has cut across religious and ethnic divide dashing the hopes of the birds of ill-omen that surreptitiously saw the chance to fan flames of division and chaos in the country.

The peace and stability that Cameroon enjoys does not seem to please some, judging from the media campaign and insinuations that have pointed to everything but the achievements of the forces on the ground with the collaboration of the local population. Yet, it has been no secret that the forces on the ground in the Far North Region in particular and the rest of the country, in general, count so much on the support of the population; given that the hit-and-run tactics being employed by the insurgents are far from any conventional war strategy whereby the enemy is identifiable.

Thus, the Head of State was quick to laud the role of the population and the general mobilisation that has characterised the entire nation at this time of insecurity and killings caused by the obnoxious sect operating from Nigeria.        

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