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A Call To Serve

paul-biya-marche-promotion-emiaNew blood being injected into the Cameroonian and African defence forces today 24 April 2015

The graduation ceremony of the 33rd and 34th batches of the Combined Military Academy in Yaounde today under the distinguished chairmanship of the Head of State, President Paul Biya, who is the Commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces marks a significant moment in the life of the country’s defence forces. Besides the new blood that the absorption of the graduating cadet officers adds into the corps, there is their christening which already encompasses much about the expectations from the new soldiers.
Certainly, those coming new into the forces are not just fresh but have undergone the training that guarantees their physical, moral and intellectual capacity in reinforcing the country’s defence potentials. Since the reforms initiated by the Head of State in the Defence Forces in 2001, the training of young cadet officers at the Academy has constantly taken into consideration the concerns of greater efficiency so as to adopt the noble goals of the creation of the institution in 1959 to modern-day challenges. In addition, while the 33rd batch carries the name of “Lieutenant Youssouf Mahamat Bahar”, and is made up of 140 Cadet Officers including 21 girls, eight foreigners, eight medical doctors; ten of the students failed to meet the graduation criteria. The other batch christened the “50th Anniversary of Reunification” is a contingent of 138 young officers with 16 girls and six foreigners.
The symbolism of the names they carry all lies in the work that is expected from the young officers. For instance, Lt. Youssouf Mahamat of the Rapid Intervention Battalion had a feat on 11 March 2011 when he ignored injuries inflicted on him and lead troops under his command to successfully push back pirates from Cameroonian soil. 
Of course, the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Cameroon marks a key moment in the political evolution of the country, especially with the Defence Forces having contributed so much in the socio-economic development that the people witness today in an atmosphere of peace and stability. Thus, the event that was celebrated at the various levels of national life, either at the National School of Administration in Yaounde, the Defence Forces in Bamenda as well as the Africa 21 Conference in Yaounde and the Buea commemorative event, all underlined the role that the country’s defence forces have played in national progress and cohesion.
Consequently, coming at a time when Cameroon is facing an unprecedented aggression from the Boko Haram extremists based in neighbouring Nigeria, the influx of refugees from the Central African Republic as well as the management of internally displaced persons and the wave of insecurity brought about by the precarious situation, the graduating soldiers need to be reminded of the task ahead. As such, the significance of today’s ceremony is expected to also serve as a wakeup call to the entire defence forces that they have to be ready at all times to defend the territorial integrity of Cameroon as well as preserve  peace and unity that the country highly cherishes.
It is therefore on purpose that Head of State, as usual, will personally preside at the event which will gather jubilant and curious family members at the ceremonial ground of the Military Headquarters Brigade in Yaounde.  The heavy presence of national and international dignitaries is another reminder of the weight that is on the shoulders of the new cadet officers.  Those before them have demonstrated their determination through the various achievements that they have enabled Cameroon to attain and there is no doubt that the new breed of officers will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.
In sending out the 33rd and 34th contingents of cadet officers from the Yaounde Combined Military Academy, Cameroon is equally celebrating the mark of south-south cooperation thanks to the confidence that a number of African countries continue to place in the country’s ability to offer high-level training to young men and women who can defend the continent. That is why the current graduating batches include trainees from the Central African Republic, Mali, Senegal, and Gabon.
Created in 1959, the Combined Military Academy was inaugurated in 1961 and Colonel Bengonno Antoine Mesmin Kisito is the 22nd commandant of the institution.

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