The Commander of Customs Operation Unit Major Ekolle Felix Mengalle has outlined some major results of the Operation to Stop Illicit Trade better known in French as HALCOMI since it was officially launched in 2018.
Major Ekolle appraised the outcomes of the operation of the Cameroon Customs during a state media’s Sunday morning programme, Cameroon Calling.
According to the customs official, though major customs houses have become less productive, the successes of the operation spans in the security, health, environmental and economic domains.
“We have touched so many areas,” he said adding that because of their impacts “fraudsters are afraid to bring in goods illegally.”
“So they are force to go to the Customs warehouses to declare.” he added.
On the security aspects, Major Ekolle said, “we are putting more emphasis now on security issues since, what we are living today calls for attention.”
He further said the HALCOMI mission has done lots of seizures of bombs, guns bullets, explosive devices and other dangerous weapons.
“We had seizures of bullets in the Centre region. We had another important seizure of bullets in Tiko.” He cited.
Recounting the successes in the health aspect, the Commander said “we have been seizing pharmaceutical products worth hundreds of tons.” He declared.
According to him, several illicit drugs and other hard drugs like tramadol and cocaine have been confiscated by elements of three zones of the HALCOMI operation in the North, Far North, Adamawa, Littoral, Centre and East regions.
On the economic fronts, he disclosed that not only have the customs revenue collection increased but also, other local businesses in the country, have benefited from the fallouts of their operations.
He explained that local businesses have been protected from crumbling due to unfair competition with goods usually imported illegally.
“There were some of our local industries that had to suffer because of unfair competition from some of these goods that were coming in undeclared.” He averred, adding that “there have been tons of plastics that have been seized.”
Despite the lengthy and porous nature of the country’s borders, he admits that much has been done by the Cameroon Customs administration led by Fongod Edwin Nuvaga as Director General in ensuring dangerous weapons and substances don’t get into the country.
“Through this operation, much has been achieved.”
“We are fighting this but mobilizing all the personnel to fight against any thing that can be harmful to the society, be it in the economy aspect, security, health and environment.” He emphasized.
Fortified marine borders
Quizzed on how secure are the country’s maritime borders, the head of the Customs Operation Unit said their elements have been well fortified to beef up their surveillance in the waters.
“We have trained marines who have been deployed to all the marine borders.” Major Ekolle stated.
We are working in partnership with the Cameroon Navy who trained our guys.”
He said assuring that traffickers “don’t find it easy because we have deployed the boys even in the creeks in Douala, Kribi and even in the northern regions”
“Not even 1kilometre will be left uncovered because we are aware.”