Posts Tagged ‘Cameroon’

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Boko Haram gun-running in Cameroon

November 18, 2014

Gun-running in West and Central African

Boko Haram is trafficking arms in far northern Cameroon, according to military officials and news sources. An arms seizure led to at least one arrest in January, and a gendarme raid in the central market of Maroua, the regional capital, led to the arrest of 40 suspects connected with trafficking arms for the jihadist group in June.  Weapons and their proceeds are used in Boko Haram strongholds in northeastern Nigeria of Yobe and Borno.

Furthermore, Cameroon is being exploited by Chadian, Libyan, and Qatari networks to smuggle weapons on Boko Haram’s behalf according to a recent and informative report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point by Jacob Zenn with internal citations omitted (h/t El Grillo):

…The tie between arms traffickers and Boko Haram commanders was also highlighted in key arrests in Cameroon. One Chadian weapons trafficker was arrested in Waza [Cameroon] in June 2014 working on behalf of a Maroua-based Boko Haram commander and possessed $15,000 from deals that he made in Chad. Days before his arrest, Cameroon uncovered weapons stockpiles in Maroua’s central market. In addition, in June 2014, Cameroon discovered travel documents from Libya (Africa’s largest arms market since 2011) and Qatar and receipts from car exports to Qatar in a Boko Haram camp, which suggests a possible link to Alhaji Abdalla, who was Boko Haram’s negotiator in the [kidnapping of the French family] Moulin-Fournier and other kidnappings…

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Arms pour in for Boko Haram

March 10, 2014

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.

From IRIN:

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”…

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Ivory terror: elephant bloodbath funds jihadists

December 3, 2012

Sudanese Arab militiamen and Somali al-Shabaab terrorists are financing their jihad from poaching raids against the endangered wildlife of their mostly Christian neighbors.

The janjaweed poachers use the profits from massacring the African elephant to continue their massacres against black Africans in Darfur.  The common link is their utter disregard for life and for the rule of law.

From the Africa Review on Nov. 17:

Cameroon deploys crack unit to foil Sudanese poachers

Cameroon’s Special Forces have been deployed to foil an imminent raid by Sudanese poachers who for eight weeks earlier this year slaughtered half the population of elephants for their ivory at one of the country’s wildlife reserves.

The poachers have been attempting to take park guards in northern Cameroon by surprise by exploiting greater ground cover that has sprouted in the rainy season, according to international conservation body World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which said it had been informed by high ranking officials of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) on Friday.

“This is the same group of poachers that in early 2012 travelled more than 1,000km on horseback from northern Sudan across the Central African Republic and Chad to kill over 300 elephants in the Bouba N’Djida National Park in northern Cameroon,” WWF said.

The heavily armed and well coordinated poachers, who had told local villagers of their plans to kill as many elephants as possible, claimed they had killed as much as 650 out of some 1,000 that roamed the park.

The elephant population in Cameroon and in central Africa is estimated to have been halved, mainly by poachers, between 1995 and 2007 with the number of elephants killed still on the rise…

The article does not precisely identify whom the Sudanese poachers are or for what they will use the ivory profits.  But a story from the New York Times in September explained that Sudan’s janjaweed, the Arab supremacists who bear responsibility for the genocide against black Africans in Darfur, are offenders in the illegal ivory trade:

Several Sudanese ivory traders and Western officials said that the infamous janjaweed militias of Darfur were also major poachers. Large groups of janjaweed — the word means horseback raider — were blamed for killing thousands of civilians in the early 2000s, when Darfur erupted in ethnic conflict. International law enforcement officials say that horseback raiders from Darfur wiped out thousands of elephants in central Africa in the 1980s. Now they suspect that hundreds of janjaweed militiamen rode more than 600 miles from Sudan and were the ones who slaughtered at least 300 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon this past January, one of the worst episodes of elephant slaughter recently discovered.

In 2010, Ugandan soldiers, searching for Mr. Kony in the forests of the Central African Republic, ran into a janjaweed ivory caravan. “These guys had 400 men, pack mules, a major camp, lots of weapons,” a Western official said. A battle erupted and more than 10 Ugandans were killed.

“It just shows you the power of poaching, how much money you can make stacking up the game,” the official said.

How much and for what purpose?  Der Spiegel reports that janjaweed poachers use the proceeds for arms:  “The millions of dollars their poaching raid must have brought in will allow them to replenish their weapons stores.”

Although no Somalis were mentioned in the latest Cameroon hunt, the New York Times also identified al-Shabaab as an ivory poaching participant:

Perhaps no country in Africa is as lawless as Somalia, which has languished for more than 20 years without a functioning central government, spawning Islamist militants, gunrunners, human traffickers and modern-day pirates. Ivory has entered this illicit mix.

Several Somali elders said that the Shabab, the militant Islamist group that has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, recently began training fighters to infiltrate neighboring Kenya and kill elephants for ivory to raise money.

One former Shabab associate said that the Shabab were promising to “facilitate the marketing” of ivory and have encouraged villagers along the Kenya-Somalia border to bring them tusks, which are then shipped out through the port of Kismayo, a notorious smuggling hub and the last major town the Shabab still control.

“The business is a risk,” said Hassan Majengo, a Kismayo resident with knowledge of the ivory trade, “but it has an exceptional profit.”

Read more details of al-Shabaab’s involvement in the ivory trade here.

Sadly, the Islamist culture and tradition of raiding, pillaging, plundering and exploitation of natural resources and property is alive and well.