News / Africa

    US Trains Cameroon Military on Landmines Detection

    FILE - Cameroon's army soldiers deploy against the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram in Dabanga, northern Cameroon, June 17, 2014.
    FILE - Cameroon's army soldiers deploy against the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram in Dabanga, northern Cameroon, June 17, 2014.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: VOA has learned that Kwene Beltus (left), a senior Cameroonian military official interviewed for this story, was killed by landmine blast the day after he spoke to VOA for this story.

    YAOUNDE — The United States is training the Cameroon military in techniques of detecting and counteracting landmines and explosive devices. The training comes due to the increasing use of landmines and suicide bombings by Boko Haram militants.

    Kwene Beltus, one of Cameroon's senior military officials fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, said the terrorist group's ability to launch massive attacks has been drastically reduced by raids organized by Cameroonian and Nigerian soldiers on Boko Haram strongholds in the border regions. He said the terrorist group has now resorted more to suicide bombings and the use of landmines. 

    "They put explosives on the road. They know that when the car will pass on those explosives everything will be blown off. It is their new strategy that they use now. They know that those friends, those [Nigerian] army friends that will come to help us [that come to fight with us] will pass on those explosives and will be destroyed," said Beltus.

    Landmines planted by insurgents

    Last month, Cameroon closed some of its borders with Nigeria frequently used by the insurgents. Government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary said several dozen people had died from suicide bombings and the country had incurred human and material loses from landmines planted by the insurgents.

    General Jacob Kodji, commander of Cameroon troops fighting Boko Haram, said faced with this new form of Boko Haram strategy, Cameroon's Defense Ministry asked for the help of the United States in teaching troops how to deal with landmines and suicide bombings.

    "We are so grateful for this opportunity and since our hierarchy [defense ministry] has appreciated this course we are following it with very very big interest. This is something additional to what we have been using [doing] and having as expertise or capability. We are very sure that technically or psychologically we will have improvement," he said.

    Experts from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) trained the soldiers on detecting and counteracting explosive devices.

    New security challenge

    Christian Ehrhardt, senior official in charge of security at the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, said the U.S. was willing to help Cameroon meet this new security challenge.

    "Boko Haram is a threat. It is threatening the entire subregion's stability and the United States is committed to helping Cameroon and its partners in the region with ensuring the stability," he said.

    FILE - Cameroon soldiers stand guard at a lookout post as they take part in operations against the Islamic extremists group Boko Haram.
    FILE - Cameroon soldiers stand guard at a lookout post as they take part in operations against the Islamic extremists group Boko Haram.

    Besides the training, 300 American Marines have been deployed to the central African nation and the U.S. has provided war equipment to Cameroon.

    Cameroon is one of the countries taking part in a joint regional task force to fight Boko Haram alongside Chad, Niger, Benin and Nigeria. 

    Boko Haram has killed thousands in Africa, according to the United Nations, and the group has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, attacked mosques, churches, palaces, homes, markets and schools, and kidnapped scores of girls and young women.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Joshua77 from: Atlanta
    February 14, 2016 8:29 PM
    Before we start training the forces, how come we do not comment on the corruption by the long time serving leader. America should help address the causes of the problem rather than helping to train forces to prolong the rule of the so called leader of Cameron.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora