Cameroon: Defence Forces - Ready to Protect Students, Teachers

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Protesters use catapult against police in Bamenda

The security evaluation meeting at the Ministry of Defence on August 30, 2019 was dedicated to mobilising all defence and security stakeholders to ensure smooth resumption of schools.

Defence and security forces have been mobilised to ensure the effective start of the 2019/2020 academic year that begins today, Monday, September 1, 2019 throughout the national territory and especially in the socio-political and security crisis-ridden North West and South West Regions. The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo chaired the security evaluation meeting that took place on the high instructions of the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Paul Biya. Besides high military personnel, the meeting that took place in-camera was also attended by the Minister of Territorial Administration who is also the Permanent Secretary of the National Security Council, Delegate General for National Security and the Director General for External Research. Defence Minister in his opening statement rejoiced at the presence of the other government officials because as he stated, "We are all called to serve our country in matters of security, defence, territorial integrity and management of civic liberties." Minister Beti Assomo situating the context of the start of the academic year, said it was characterised by socio-political and security turmoil in the North West and South West Regions, resurgence of Boko Haram terrorist threats in the Far North Region, organised crime in the Adamawa and eastern border of the East Region. Concerning the North West and South West Regions, he said it was precarious, stating that despite the daily casualties inflicted on terrorist, secessionists and armed gangs, they were not yet disarming. He said they continue to carry out violent actions on civilians, members of the defence and security forces, teachers, students, religious officials as well as the destruction of some infrastructure and equipment. He added that during the 2018/2019 academic year, the secessionists committed several acts of assault against students and teachers that included beatings, kidnappings and killings. With the current state of affairs, Beti Assomo said, "School resumption this year is therefore a special stake for normalcy to return to the two regions." It is for this reason, he further said, that, "defence and security forces must more than ever before take all measures for an optimal safety of the back-to-school by protecting schools, students and teachers." The Defence boss said that the situation called for the total mobilisation of government, living forces, administrative and religious authorities and elite of the North West and South West Regions to enable the youths benefit from their right to education and avoid uncertainty. The resolutions, recommendations and report of the security evaluation meeting that also x-rayed the security situation in all the other regions of the country have to be forwarded to the Head of State, Paul Biya.

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