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Commendable Heroism of Defence Forces

Rare in the history of Cameroon has there been glowing tribute to the country’s defence forces as is the case now. Their ingenuity in pushing back the bestial Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, from advancing into Cameroonian soil has received national standing ovation from Cameroonians of all walks of life.

Citizens have matched, sung, prayed and contributed financially and materially to keep the soldier’s morale above the adversity.

The graduation ceremony of two batches from the Combined Services Military Academy (EMIA) Friday; the 33rd batch christened “Lieutenant Youssouf Mahamat Bahar and the 34th batch code-named, “50th Anniversary of Reunification,” served as an opportunity for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to add his own accolades.

That the men and women in uniform have been fighting vigorously, day and night and against a nebulous group stretched out for barbarism of all sorts, did not leave President Paul Biya indifferent. The fact that they have not ceded an inch of the national land to the enemy that is using all sorts of tactics to inflict pain and suffering easily makes the defence forces conquerors. If Cameroonians are sleeping today with all eyes closed, at least those in the southern part of the country, it is thanks to the heroic deeds of the defence forces, some of whom have paid for the relative peace enjoyed here with their lives. Many others have remained steadfast, braving all the hurdles on the battle front to counter any attack from the enemy. 

This undoubtedly explains why President Paul Biya, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, used Friday’s graduation ceremony to throw flowers on the valiant men and women in uniform. Coming from the first citizen that, “They have inflicted huge losses on the enemy and compelled him to leave our territory. I pay tribute to their courage and spirit of sacrifice. They have won our esteem…, they have won our admiration,” is comforting in the midst of an adversity as terrifying as the fight against Boko Haram. It is equally reassuring to the soldiers that the entire nation is in full support of their numerous and diverse acts of bravery.

It goes without saying also that the nation as one is counting on the defence forces to fully watch over them be it in the north, east, south or west.

While savouring the praise of the country’s Chief Executive, coupled with what Cameroonians have given and continue to give, the soldiers may need to bear in mind that to whom much is given, much is also expected.  Drawing lessons from the Boko Haram insurgencies, a merciless enemy who has over the years defied the laws of humanity, the defence forces absolutely need to be on a permanent alert, not only necessarily where disaster has hit, but equally all over. The enemy comes like a thief to steal, kill and destroy.

A few years back, very few people could imagine the distasteful happenings in the country and the Far North in particular from the Nigerian-born terrorist group, Boko Haram. Not even one can decipher next where and when the shoe would pinch. But an upbeat and visionary army, supported by all would be capable of pre-empting, and at worse, halting the enemy when he rises especially given security challenges of today’s world, like growing terrorism, piracy, arms proliferation and drug trafficking.

Fortunately, the defence forces have acted and are recognized as a ‘republican’ army whose action is rooted in the fundamental values freely chosen by the people. And the Head of State rightly and timely said, “Such is the case of our defence forces which are an emanation of our people and, like all of us, hold dear our conception of a society of freedom, social justice and tolerance.” Cameroonians therefore have and would continually want to enjoy these values intrinsic in the fundamental rights of man. The courage of Lieutenant Youssouf Mahamat Bahar on whom the 33rd batch is named and that of Donkeng Joseph Kevin who sacrificed self for country are vivid examples of heroism.  The task is daunting but worth pursuing.

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