News / Africa

Questions Raised in Cameroon About Arms Seizures

— Cameroon's government says it has seized huge consignments of arms and ammunition destined for Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. Residents in the area of the alleged seizure, however, say they are unaware of any such activity.

"The governor of the Far North Region has congratulated the forces of law and order and administrative authorities of Logone and Chari Division for impounding a huge quantity of arms and ammunition which was being smuggled for onward supply to the Boko Haram group," said the government announcement.

Cameroon state radio has broadcast this message several times, saying that Cameroon's defense forces seized some 5,400 firearms destined for Nigeria's Boko Haram sect in Borno State.

The news was announced after the Cameroon government dismissed media reports that groups like Boko Haram are using its territory as a training ground.

Cameroon's minister of communication and government spokesperson, Issa Tciroma Bakari, said that by seizing the arms, Cameroon had proved to the world that it is cooperating with Nigeria to stop Boko Haram threats.

"This is the best way to deny any allegations that Cameroon is being used as a base for insurgents, for the destabilization of other countries," said Bakari.

The government said the arms were seized in the sub-division of Gulfe, in the Far North Cameroon region.  

Competing reports

Forty-year-old businessman Ibrahima Dewa told VOA they had not seen any weapons in their village.

"I set out for the hard-to-access locality on a motorcycle," he said. "People there did not seem to be aware that a huge consignment of weapons had been seized in their locality."

Dewa said Cameroonian policemen move around the village with guns and lately they have seen an increase in the number of military men with guns.

Seventy-year-old Alim Bachir, chief of Kekte village, where the arms were said to have been seized, said he was rather scandalized that state radio and the country's officials could, in his words, mislead the people.  

He was emphatic that no arms had been seized in his village, and he said that nobody had been arrested or detained for transporting arms as the government had reported.

Bachir said he is the chief of the village so if the news were true, he should have been informed.

Cameroon Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakari refused to comment on the apparent discrepancies in the state radio reports.

"I heard the information, too, but in my capacity as the minister of communication, member of government, I will make no statement whatsoever. I will make no statement," said Bakari.

He described claims, however, that the arms did not exist as defamatory.

"Cameroon is calling on the authors of this defamatory campaign to put an end to it," he said.

Growing issue

Last month Nigeria asked its neighbors in the Lake Chad Basin Commission to create a task force to handle terrorists, but Cameroon said it would only contribute troops when there is need.

Suspected Boko Haram members so far have kidnapped nine French persons, two Italians and a Canadian in Cameroon. Ibrahim Njowel, a cattle rancher in Kousseri, North Cameroon says the sect remains a threat.

He said the sect is becoming a danger for Cameroon. He also said he had heard that three clergy were again kidnapped, and said he believes Boko Haram is becoming a serious problem in Cameroon.

Cameroon has promised to track down any terrorists and keep its territory safe.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid