Cameroon loses US military support over Anglophone crisis

Postado Fevereiro 09, 2019

The United States is cutting some of its military aid to Cameroon following evidence of human rights violations.

According to a State Department official, the government intends to "terminate" over $17 million in security aid, including funds for radars, four defender-class patrol boats and nine armored vehicles.

A planned U.S. funded upgrade to a Cessna aircraft belonging to Cameroon's elite Rapid Intervention Battalion has also been terminated. The battalion, which has been previously advised by United States troops, has been accused of engaging in human rights abuses.

Some of the security assistance money had been put on hold by Congress due to those concerns.

The commander of the United States' Africa Command, General Thomas Waldhauser, mentioned during the committee meeting that he felt that the alleged atrocities can not be neglected. Nonetheless, he added, the US can not "neglect the fact that there are alleged atrocities in what's gone on there".

Last May, the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, accused the security forces of targeted killings, unlawful detentions and burning and looting villages.

Waldhauser said AFRICOM will continue to take cues from the State Department and the ambassador on security assistance.

This was in response to allegations of gross human rights violations by Cameroon's security forces in the northwest, southwest and far north regions. Upon deliberation, the State Department and the Congress chose to cut millions in funding, amounting to over US$17 million, in security aid.

"In full compliance with worldwide humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, this cooperation is meant to help Cameroons security and defence forces to combat terrorism, and particularly Boko Haram in the northern part of the country, while protecting local populations", von der Muhll told reporters. "For the time being, other programmes will continue".

"We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Waldhauser reiterated Thursday that there are ongoing programs with Cameroon - "all kind of small engagements as well as exercises".

The United States will also suspend training and the delivery of spare parts for a C-130 transport aircraft owned by Cameroon, hold back a radar system and withdraw an offer for Yaounde to take part in a program in which individual U.S. states help develop foreign militaries.

"We are not going to stop security cooperation with Cameroon". The Cameroonian military denied targeting civilians.

300 USA marines are training Cameroonian troops fighting Boko Haram coming into the north of the country from neighboring Nigeria. The announcement was made during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week, where military officials were asked about the situation in the Central African country.

The State Department said it remains open to working with Cameroon on other, nonmilitary initiatives.

US officials claim the number of human rights violations they've witnessed in the West African nation forced the Trump administration to decide Cameroon will have to deal with Boko Haram and other terrorists on its own.