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Posts Tagged ‘Yaoundé’

counter-terrorism cooperation and combatting illicit trafficking symposium

Posted by African Press International on November 30, 2013

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, November 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– Combating terrorism and illicit trafficking were the focus of an international audience who gathered recently in Cameroon.

The U.S. Africa Center for Stratetic Studies (ACSS) co-hosted a symposium on regional counter-terrorism cooperation and the fight against illicit trafficking in Yaoundé on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, in partnership with the ACSS Community Chapter in Cameroon and the U.S. Embassy.

The event took place at the Yaoundé International War College (Ecole supérieure internationale de guerre de Yaoundé [ESIG]). The more than 100 participants included Africa Center community members from the Cameroon Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the University of Yaoundé.

Also in the attendance was a diverse international group of 42 ESIG students representing nearly 20 nationalities, including the United States, who are currently in the midst of a 10-month study program at ESIG. Another group of 12 students from the National School of Security Forces (Ecole nationale de forces de sécurité [ENFS]) attended as well.

Presentations focused on defining and improving regional cooperation in countering terrorism and the threats associated with illicit trafficking.

In his opening remarks, ESIG Commandant Major General Esaïe Ngambou expressed his satisfaction with the selection of topics. “The Africa Center chose two challenging issues that are at the heart of our current preoccupations: regional cooperation against terrorism and illicit trafficking.” He also mentioned that this year’s annual ESIG colloquium will focus on border security, making the symposium a fitting beginning to the colloquium’s preparations.

Colonel Gabriel Metogo Atangana, the ACSS Chapter President, explained the pertinence of the topics discussed, at a time when Cameroon faces the challenges of Boko Haram’s spillover in the northern part of the country.

“ACSS has maintained for nearly 10 years now a close cooperation with the armed forces and law enforcement forces of Cameroon,” he said. “The choice of today’s topics is explained by the magnitude and damaging effects, as well as the consequences in the communities which are affected by these threats,” he noted.

Mr. John Harney, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Project Manager at the J5 Counter-narcotics and Law Enforcement Division, provided an overview of illicit trafficking and laid out how AFRICOM deals with the issue. He also pointed out interagency efforts to harmonize the U.S. government effort in building West African capacities to combat transnational organized crime, particularly narcotic trafficking.

“It takes a network to defeat a network,” Mr. Harney noted, highlighting the importance of international cooperation in defeating international illicit trafficking networks.

The consensus following the symposium was that Cameroonians’ challenges are global challenges. As a result, it will take an all-inclusive effort—for the U.S. and African partners—to deter and defeat transnational threats and provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development. Participants also agreed that deeper regional cooperation and international cooperation are keys to success.



U.S Africa Command


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He speaks of being tortured

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013

YAOUNDE,  – Cameroon is among the world’s most hostile countries to homosexualityrights groups say. Homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison, as well as fines.

In the past three years, the country has prosecuted at least 28 people for homosexuality, according to Human Rights Watch.

Roger Jean Claude Mbede, 34, was sentenced to three years in prison for sending an SMS to another man saying, “I’m in love with you.”

“One day in 2011, after going out with friends, I sent an SMS to one of them to express my feelings, but this landed me in jail on charges of homosexuality.

“From the time of my arrest in Yaoundé, I was subjected to torture from the law enforcement officers. They coerced me to disclose information on my past relationships and my sex life. The gendarme officers kept smacking me, tore my shirt and treated me like a bandit.

“And during my prosecution, the judge kept shouting insults at me. I had no lawyer at the time. On 28 April 2011, I was convicted and given two-year prison term.

“While in jail, I suffered continuous abuse from inmates and prison guards. Many times, I went without basic necessities, such as food and water, because the prison officials refused to serve me like the others.

“Thanks to [a] human right defender and lawyer. I started receiving legal representation after some months in prison. This was due to the fact that my health was deteriorating from the ill treatment I was undergoing in prison. I lost close to 15kg, regularly suffered malaria fever and other complications. The lawyer filed a motion for my release on grounds of my health. The motion was granted on July 16, 2012, and I was provisionally released.

“But after my release, the bad publicity about me made me leave my university studies because I was scared of the threats and insults from fellow students and neighbours.

“Since then, my life has not been the same, and this was worsened by the recent killings of homosexuals and public threats made to anyone suspected to be gay or [gay] rights defenders.

“I can’t find a job where people know me. This has made me live in isolation, like many other gays in Cameroon. We have very few people as friends, and it is even a dreadful thing to meet with someone in your similar situation because any gay [meeting place] is a target today.

“My livelihood has mostly been supported by civil society organizations and human rights defenders. But I could start running a blog to defend and promote the rights of LGBT in Cameroon and beyond.

“Due to the tense environment in Cameroon, I am thinking of seeking asylum to any country where my sexual preference will not cause me many problems.

“But it is not an easy decision to make. I miss my friends and family despite their opinion about me.

“The government doesn’t protect suspected gay people from the gruesome killings and threats that many have gone through in Cameroon.

“If every citizen had equal human rights and freedom in Cameroon, carrying condoms and lubricant wouldn’t be a crime, dressing like women and drinking sweet whisky wouldn’t be an offense, and nobody would be arrested for arranging to meet with another man in a hotel lobby.”

mn/ob/rz  source

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