Gunrunning from the Sudan and Central African Republic into Nigeria to arm the jihadist group Boko Haram is destabilizing the entire region. Cameroon has had to deploy more forces to its northeastern region to contend with the rising tide of arms traffickers passing through Cameroonian territory. One analyst says, “After wars, firearms are sold at relatively low prices, a real business opportunity for traffickers.” Indeed, that seemed to be the case after the Libyan uprising against Qaddafi as well: many of the Libyan weapons have wound up arming the Al Qaeda aligned rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Perhaps it should not be a surprise that Sudan, a longtime state sponsor of terrorism and genocide, is one of the culprits behind the arming of Boko Haram. And with players like this involved, ultimately the Gulf monarchies cannot be ruled out of pulling the strings and financing some of these activities behind the scenes.
Arms smuggling to Boko Haram threatens Cameroon
YAOUNDE, 21 February 2014 (IRIN) – Recent arms seizures and arrests of traffickers in Cameroon’s Far North Region have highlighted the escalating insecurity caused by Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria and the impact of the unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan.
In January, Cameroon’s security forces arrested a man attempting to transport 655 guns to Nigeria. In September 2013, 5,400 AK-47 rifles were seized on a pick-up truck in Maroua, the capital of Far North Region, according to officials and local media.
“Many fire arms have been seized from traffickers in the region in recent days, coming from crisis countries like Sudan and CAR. The number could be higher due to the disarmament taking place in CAR. This region remains a zone for traffickers because it is closer to Nigeria,” a Maroua Police officer told IRIN.
Cameroon has stepped up security in the Far North Region following Nigeria’s military crackdown on Boko Haram, which has pushed back the insurgents to border regions and forced thousands of civilians to flee into Cameroon.
“Before the deployment of the special security forces of the Rapid Intervention Unit in 2009 to the Far North of Cameroon, the region was highly plagued by highway robbers armed with light machine guns. But today, armed robbery has reduced in the Far North, giving way to arms traffickers now targeting new markets in neighbouring Nigeria,” said a gendarme official with the intelligence division.
“Because of the vast nature of the region’s borders, traffickers sometimes can pass through the region without being detected”…