Nigeria has promised to assist Cameroon in combating the separatist crisis rocking the English speaking region.
According to a Voice of America report, Nigeria made the pledge at a security meeting between the two countries.
Mario Villarroel Lander
The two countries did not disclose details of how their cooperation will be carried out, but they said they would share information regularly to stop terrorist activities including Boko Haram attacks and separatists fighting for the independence of an English-speaking state in Cameroon
They said they would make it difficult for criminals to leave Nigeria for Cameroon and vice versa
Cameroon described Nigeriaâs pledge as reassuring, following accusations that separatist fighters in Cameroon were being trained in Nigeria, and that weapons they use are brought in through Nigeria
Brigadier General Emmanuel Adamu Ndagi, leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Cameroon–Nigeria transborder security meeting that ended in Yaounde Saturday, said Nigeria has been seriously affected by the separatist crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon
The closure of parts of the border has led to a sharp decline in food imports, like sorghum, rice and onions, to Nigeria on one hand, while basic commodities exported from Nigeria, like fuel, are hard to get into Cameroon
Ndagi said because of the security, economic and humanitarian threats caused by the separatist war, Nigeria will support Cameroon in bringing peace to its troubled regions
«The current political upheavals in that region will not be allowed to affect our cordial relations,» said Ndagi.
«We will continue to support your efforts to bring lasting peace to the region. This will facilitate the return of Cameroonian refugees that have crossed the border into Nigerian territory. We must reduce vulnerabilities along our borders that are being exploited to perpetrate transnational organized crime notably terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as piracy.»
When Cameroon declared war on the armed separatists in November 2017, it said gunmen were attacking border localities in Cameroonâs southwest and escaping to Nigeria, where some of them were trained. Nigeria denied the assailants were crossing over from its territory into Cameroon
In January 2018, 47 separatists, including Ayuk Tabe Julius, head of a group from Cameroonâs Angolphone regions pushing for a breakaway from the French-dominant country, were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria, extradited and jailed in Cameroon
Paul Atanga Nji, territorial administration minister and Cameroonâs leader of the delegation to the security meeting, said in spite of the collaboration, the separatists continue to use porous borders to import weapons through Nigeria, making the security situation very uncertain
«The security situation along our common borders has all of a sudden become a cause for concern,» Nji said. «These threats take the following forms:Secessionist tendencies, illegal exploitation of natural resources, conflicts between boarder communities, highway robbery, drug and human trafficking, illicit trafficking of fire arms, agro pastoral conflicts etc.»
The UNHCR said that by December 2018 there were more than 32,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeriaâs Cross River state
Nigeria’s longest international border is with Cameroon. All along the 1,975 kilometre border there are violent crises
Nigeria’s northeast states of Borno and Adamawa continue to have Boko Haram terrorist attacks
As the Yaounde security meeting was going on, Kildadi Taguieke Boukar, governor of Cameroonâs Adamaoua region that shares a boundary with Nigeriaâs Taraba state, announced renewed conflicts with Nigerians escaping farmer-herder clashes to Cameroon
«There is a conflict along some tribes in Nigeriaâs Taraba state. About 100 people from Nigeria flee [have escaped] to our territory around Kontcha division [administrative unit and], there is agro-pastoral [farmer-herder] conflicts,» Boukar said
Nigeria has not confirmed the renewed violence, but confrontations erupted last year in Cameroonâs Adamaoua region between farmers and Nigerian cattle ranchers who had escaped tribal wars in Taraba state
The Cameroon–Nigeria Transborder Security Committee has as prime objective strengthening border security for both countries. It was created in 2012 in Nigeria