By Ebi Kesiena
Defense ministers and security experts from Cameroon and Chad are meeting in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, to map out ways to jointly combat growing security threats along their border.
According to officials from both countries, a day hardly goes by without cases of either Boko Haram terrorist attacks or cross-border crimes, including armed gangs attacking civilians and wildlife reported on both sides of the border between Cameroon and Chad.
The two central African states stated that they share more than 1,100-kilometer porous land border that facilitates the escape of armed gangs and Boko Haram terrorists to either Cameroon or Chad when chased by government troops.
Joseph Beti Assomo, Cameroon’s defense minister, said Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby and his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya, have ordered militaries of the two states to jointly monitor and protect their borders from violence perpetrated by the Islamist radicals and armed gangs.
Explaining further, Assomo said keeping Cameroon and Chad safe from rebels, terrorists and armed gangs is synonymous with contributing to stability in sub-Saharan Africa in particular and Africa in general.
Assomo noted that tens of thousands of Cameroonian citizens who fled bloody battles between fishers and herders in northern Cameroon last year are still in Chad.
While Chad’s government noted that the displaced persons are refusing to return to their communities in Cameroon because of frequent conflicts between herders and fishers.
Atlthough, Defense ministers from the two countries stated that the slaughter of elephants in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic by criminal groups has reduced, the proliferation of weapons left behind by rebels continues to be a threat to wildlife and civilians in both countries.
The ministers however noted that the socioeconomic development along the Cameroon-Chad border has been highly compromised by rampant insecurity, hence the need for collaborations.