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General News of Thursday, 23 July 2015

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Measures intensify against daredevil militants

Bans on long veils, night movements of motorbikes and strict enforcement of body searches, amongst others, have been intensified to prevent Boko Haram suicide-bomb attacks.

Suicide-bombing, using girls and women, is the new unconventional warfare tactic introduced by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, in Cameroon following the July 22 and July 12, 2015 attacks in Maroua and the border locality of Fotokol, respectively, in the Far North Region. Defence, administrative and security authorities are stepping-up measures to reduce the enemy’s scope of manoeuvre.

The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, had a week before the Fotokol attack already announced “special measures” directed by the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Paul Biya, to prevent what the nebulous force was already perpetrating in neighbouring Chad.

“Our country is going through a very grave moment...I must emphasise that Boko Haram is not yet eradicated. This terrorist group now uses its most-preferred method of attack; that is suicide-bombing. To that effect, the President of the Republic has given new measures to the Defence Forces so that the latter could adapt to the new change,” he told the press after the epaulette and medal award ceremony in the Military Headquarters ceremonial grounds on July 1, 2015. He thus urged Cameroonians to show understanding and not consider body searches as harassment but as part of measures to keep them at bay from terrorist attacks. He demanded collaboration, vigilance and denunciation of any suspicious behaviour.

After the July 12, 2015 suicide-bomb attacks in Fotokol, the Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakari, told Cameroon Tribune that security will be reinforced with systematic checks of vehicles including luggage, the ban of movements of motorbikes at night, the ban of the movement of vehicles with tinted glasses and the ban of veils. Veils, worn mostly by Muslim and Arab women, were used by the two female terrorists who attacked Fotokol.

The measure was prominent amongst those which had already been taken by the Senior Divisional Officer of the West Region’s Noun Division, Donatien Bonyomo on June 29, 2015, demanding persons who did not want to be identified in public to “remain at their home”.

Such unidentifiable persons were forbidden from being seen in large public gatherings by the public such as markets, motor-parks, funeral ceremonies, hospitals and health centres, amongst others. The SDO’s order also forbids persons to do business with any trader whose face is hidden or sell any clothing aimed at preventing the spontaneous visual identification of a person.

The SDO of Mifi Division in the West Region, Joseph Tangwa Fover, followed suit on July 14, 2015 with similar measures including the ban of the body-length veil called the “Burka” while the Governor of the Littoral banned same clothing on July 20, 2015.

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