By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening defence and security along their borders.
The agreement was signed in three copies; English, French and Spanish.
The stride in strengthening the defence and security along its borders was penned off on July 21 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Cameroon’s Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo, represented Cameroon, while Leondro Bakale Ncogo represented Equatorial Guinea.
The agreement follows a two-day closed-door ministerial-level meeting. The signing of the cooperation agreement on the modalities of coordination and joint action on cross-border defence and security comes on the heels of an in-depth exchange meeting held in Yaounde on June 29 on the importance of the agreement.
Before penning the agreement in Malabo, the two plenipotentiaries hailed the meeting as an opportunity to reaffirm the excellent relations of friendship and cooperation existing between the two States.
The two Defence Ministers stressed the important role of their two Governments to strengthen collaboration between the cross-border authorities, so that, within the framework of mechanisms put in place, concrete and effective solutions could be found to any security problems that may arise at their common border.
They also stressed the important role that the defence forces are called upon to play in preserving the safety of the Gulf of Guinea, particularly in border areas where pursuit actions are hindered by constraints of State sovereignty.
The two delegations lauded the efforts of both countries to strengthen the defence and security strategy at the common border as well as the adoption of policies to address various threats that include drug trafficking and transitional organised crimes and the implementation of policies to curb violence, theft and cross-border crime.
Both delegations reiterated that the agreement was a significant expression of the high level political dialogue and cooperation in security and defence issues between both countries.
They also expressed the willingness to strengthen the defence and security cooperation based on the principles of national sovereignty, non-interference and on the importance of a defence and cross border security cooperation agreement.
Both countries agreed to create a joint body to combat illegal migration and security along the border and the establishment of a joint mechanism to combat maritime piracy and terrorism.
Clashes along the borders of the two countries have always resulted in huge casualties. Both countries have always accused each other.
In August 2019, Equatorial Guinea began to erect a wall along the 183km border, sparking condemnation from Cameroon. Information said the wall was being constructed on Cameroon soil.
In 2017, Equatorial Guinea accused Cameroon, after arresting dozens of foreign armed men whom they said had planned to destabilise their country. The nationalities were given as Chadian, Central African and Sudanese. Cameroon, on its part, indicated that they had arrested over 40 additional heavily armed men but gave no details.
Equatorial Guinea has often sealed its border with Cameroon complaining of security threats posed by illegal immigration. Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea share a long border of over 300km as well as historical ties.