The Cameroon government has called on the international community to redouble its efforts to help it counter terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin, where the country has been fighting the Boko Haram group for nearly 10 years now.
In an address delivered today at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, said the Boko Haram group is increasingly using sophisticated weapons and its combat strategies have been evolving, highlighting the need for greater international support.
This support may include increasing financing and technical support for Cameroon and other contributors to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), an international military force fighting Boko Haram in Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Benin, and Niger.
The African Union established the force in 2015, with the five countries each contributing over 8,000 troops. It has been receiving technical, financial, and strategic support from international partners, including the European Union, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, and has conducted joint military operations across the Lake Chad basin.
In his speech at the UN, Minister Mbella Mbella appreciated these partners for their enormous contribution to the fight against terror in the Lake Chad area. He, however, said more support is needed to achieve the optimal goal of restoring peace and stability in the Lake Chad Basin.
“This pulling of efforts will seek to effectively fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as to strengthen the capacity of sovereign states that fall victim to this phenomenon,” Mbella Mbella said.
The Boko Haram conflict, coupled with climate change effects like drought and famine, has pushed nearly half a million people from Nigeria and the Central African Republic into Cameroon.
More than 427,000 people in the Far North Region of Cameroon are internally displaced by the Boko Haram conflict, says the UNHCR, plus over 128,000 Nigerian refugees who have also been forced into the region by increasing terror attacks.
The Cameroonian delegation to the UN said the country will continue to open its arms to distressed people from neighbouring countries.
The country is also battling with another armed conflict in the English-speaking regions, which has killed more than 6,000 people since 2016, with over 638,000 internally displaced and 87,000 seeking refuge in Nigeria.
However, unlike the Anglophone Crisis, which is an internal crisis, the Boko Haram Conflict is perceived nationwide as a national war against terrorism.
Human Rights Watch said the group “is waging a war on the people of Cameroon at a shocking human cost”.