The Republic of Cameroon has signed a bilateral accord which laid down modalities for joint collaboration and security actions at the border with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to end the persistent border crisis.
This was on the high commands of the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in Cameroon, Paul Biya and the President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The Bilateral agreement was signed at the Hilton by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo for Cameroon, while the Minister of National Defence, Leandro Bakale Nkogo singed for Equatorial Guinea. It officially sanctioned the 48hours visit to Cameroon of the Equato-Guinean delegation to Yaounde from June 29-30, 2020.
In signing the accord between Malabo and Yaounde, both Defence Ministers hoped to significantly strengthen their partnership in the field of defence, security, and cross-border relations.
Minister Joseph Beti Assomo while opening the meeting of Defence Ministers expressed his wish to see the bilateral cooperation in the defence sector become a model for other countries to emulate.
He equally expressed the availability of the Cameroonian Security and Defence Forces to support all regional and bilateral initiatives in promoting common peace and security.
Meanwhile his Equato-Guinean counterpart, Leandro Bakale Nkogo hoped the process of strengthening cross-border relation and trade could benefit from a consolidated climate of mutual trust, curb all external threads and guarantee regional development.
Both Defence Ministers during deliberations were assisted by Equatorial Guineas Minister of State Minister of Regional Intergration, Bartasar Endonga Edjoho and Cameroons ministers of External Relations, Lejeune Mbela Mbela, Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, their respective Ambassadors to both countries, Secretaries of States and National Security bosses.
Concerning regional integration, Minister Beti Assomo said the President of the Republic and the people of Cameroon are so attached to the sub regional and regional integration, peace and friendly relations and cooperation with the entire members of the sub region and Equatorial Guinea in particular. “Our two countries have had very good relations marked a convergence of views between the two Head of States who concerted very often on questions of concerning the two countries, as well as those concerning the ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) and CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community). He said adding that it is based on this strong relations and in the African wisdom that we are participating in this meeting, convinced that the dialogue which we have had, will enable us settle in a fraternal and definite way, this issue of misunderstanding for the common good and peace for our countries and that of the sub region.”
Prior to the holding of the meeting of Defence Ministers, the Army chiefs of Staffs and their Etat-Majors met to further discussions on the mode of collaboration of both armies. This meeting was jointly coordinated by Cameroonian Army Chief of Staff, Lt General Rene Claude Meka and his counterpart from Equatorial Guinea, General Lamberto Nguema Micha.
Security experts from both nations had earlier met on Monday to hold discussions focusing on the issues patterning to border security of the two countries which has lately been affray.
On the side lines of this landmark event, the Minister of National Defence for Equatorial Guinea and other statesmen paid a courtesy visit to Cameron’s Secretary of State at the Presidency in charge of Defence Joseph Beti Assomo.
They elaborated on the fraternal historic, sociocultural and geographic ties that both countries share. The defence authorities shared instances where they both helped each other fight crime and worked for the growth of both nations. Both parties had agreed to carry out healthy deliberations that will put an end to the border crisis between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
Cameroon, political and Economic giant in the Central African sub region shares over 300km land and sea borders with Equatorial Guinea in the southern part of Cameroon. Very often the oil rich country has sealed it borders with Cameroon and initiated plans to build a wall along the border encroaching into Cameroon territory, reports say. This move resulted in skirmishes along the common border involving both population and their respective military elements.
Cameroon has accused Equatorial Guinea of encroaching into state lands. On her part, Equatorial Guinea has accused Cameroon of letting its citizens and West Africans enter its territory illegally, posing a security threat in the country of Teodoro Obiang Nguema by these migrants.
The populations on both sides have raised complaints about rights and property violations on each other. These have led to confrontations between the local populations and the military forces of both countries, sources said.
On a visit to the border area, Cameroon’s South Region Governor Felix Nguele Nguele said there have been several skirmishes along the border with Equatorial Guinea’s military. Nguele said while nobody was killed in the latest military aggression, but several troops were wounded, and goods were destroyed on both sides of the border.
After a successful talk last June 8, between Cameroon’s South Governor Felix Nguele Nguele and Equato-Guinean Governor of Kie Ntem province, Justo Javier Ndong Engon, both resolved to return the troops to the barracks while the government of the two countries find a lasting solution to the border dispute.
It should be recalled, several previous meetings between officials of both States have not yielded the expected fruits rendering a high level talk imminent to end the age-old scuffle.
Defence Minister, Joseph Beti Assomo and his Territorial Administration counterpart, Paul Atanga Nji paid a 2-day working visit to the South region of Cameroon on April 2-3, 2020 to assess the security situation. They confirmed the encroachment on Cameroonian land. Reports suggested more than 25 meters was encroached. The Equato-Guinea Soldiers had crossed River Ntem, a natural demarcation between the two countries to erect the milestones in Kye-Ossi on the Cameroon side, sources reported.
Cameroon’s Army Chief of staff, General Rene Claude Meka had also visited the disputed border area and cautioned soldiers not to allow any unlawful intrusion by foreign soldiers into Cameroon.
Equatorial Guineas Ambassador to Cameroon, Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz was granted audience by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations, Felix Mbayu, on August 8, 2019. Ambassador Munoz at the end of the audience debunked the accusations that his countrys forces have crossed to Cameroon to ensure an erection of a border wall. I can assure you that the information on social media, that Equatorial Guinean soldiers crossed the border to set the limits, is not true. Our soldiers cannot cross the border to lay the markers, the ambassador said.
Few weeks after, the Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue met with Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute in Yaounde on August 16, 2019 and debunked allegations of the border wall construction. After presenting a confidential letter from the Equato-Guinean President for his Cameroonian counterpart, Simeon Esono told the press that “the people talking about the wall lack information. When there is a problem between two countries, it is necessary to solve the problem through peaceful and diplomatic means.
Minister Joseph Beti Assomo recently paid a visit to Malabo on the instruction of President Biya. He was received by the countries Vice President on May 29 Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mengue with the border palaver being the focus