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Global Threats Require Global Responses

Yesterday’s ceremony of New Year wishes to President Paul Biya by the Diplomatic Corps and and National Dignitaries was another ideal occasion for the Head of State to review challenges of the year 2014 and make pronouncements on the way forward.

In his keynote response to the message from the Dean of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Milat Toufik of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Mr Biya insisted on the crucial role of the international community in tackling growing religious fundamentalism that is giving room for people to hide behind Islam and not only seek power, but foster an obscure agenda that defied all human reasoning.

In fact, the Boko Haram sect like the Al Shebab extremists as well as the Middle East conflict have combined to render the entire world unsafe, thereby requiring that the world community should take collective action to eradicate the ills. The birth of the Islamic State, IS in northern Syria and Iraq; ethnic and religious conflicts pitting Shiites against Sunnis and Muslims against Christians, Arabs fighting Kurds, and so on, all make the world insecure. The attendant consequences of destruction, the massacre of innocent people, massive human exodus, and the weakening of States that are neighbours to the afflicted countries have all combined to present a gloomy picture of the world in 2014.

In addition, the inability of the Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile their differences created fears of another “Intifada” while the fratricidal conflict in Ukraine was creating fears of another Cold War such that after two World Wars, Europe was at the verge of another clash that could cost too much for humanity. Coming at the dawn of the senseless killing of nine journalists and three policemen in Paris on Wednesday 7 January 2015 by Islamist extremist and a police woman yesterday, 8 January still in France have combined to make President Biya’s cry for international solidarity against jihadist most welcome.

Striking in the heart of France and targeting journalists who only have their pens and ideas appears to be the most disheartening incident and a cruel twist in the tactics sued by the extremists. Thus, such radicalism that is being perpetrated by some individuals, albeit with inter-connected networks, might not only encourage xenophobia, but has been the root course of unjustified human sufferings.
Although the repeated airstrikes by the international coalition have resulted in a halt in the spread of the IS empire, the absence of the United Nations to ensure a lasting peace and stability in the Middle East meant that the situation remained precarious in the region.
Yet, President Paul Biya in his characteristic lucid and vivid presentation of situation pointed out that the solution to such a bleak international atmosphere was simple: all nations needed to join human and material resources to combat such negativity.

Cameroon, like other countries that share borders with countries affected by the growth in Islamic fundamentalism, has been forced into a war of self defence given the wanton destruction of lives and property being committed by the Boko Haram sects in the Far North of the country. Such efforts have been yielding positive results, no doubt, because of the determination of the national defence forces and the mobilisation capacity of Cameroonians behind their Head of State.

That notwithstanding, Mr Biya could not take the support from friendly countries like the United States of America, Germany, France, Russia, Great Britain, and China for granted. Such support remains vital if the country had to make any significant head way in the fight to exterminate the threats that Cameroon faces from the jihadists. President Biya was, in effect, repeating an earlier call he made in Dakar, Senegal during the last Summit of the International Organisation of the Francophonie.

Such consistency and insistence in President Biya’s position is similar to that of last year when he harped on the need for the international community to step in and stabilise the situation in the Central African Republic. There are some nations that felt reticent about his position, thinking that it was an African problem which should be handled by Africans. But Mr Biya was later proven right and the ongoing threats posed by jihadists to the international community carry the same allure; such that egocentric national attractions must be shelved, if the global community wants to conquer the forces of tyranny; being imposed on the world by groups whose agenda is senseless and at time smacks of cowardice.      


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