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Country Reports
CAMEROON, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Cameroon signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 but has not yet ratified. Cameroon is concerned by the landmine problem even though it is not directly affected by this weapon.[1] It was a key player in the Ottawa Process, participating in key meetings, including the October 1996 International Strategy meeting which launched the Ottawa Process and the Kempton Park Organization of African Unity (OAU) meeting on landmines in June 1997. Cameroon endorsed the Brussels Declaration, and participated actively in the Oslo negotiations, where it worked together with Belgium to modify the deadline for entry-into-force, reducing it from the proposed one year to six months.[2] It also spoke strongly against amendments put forward by the United States that, if accepted, would have seriously weakened the treaty. Cameroon voted in support of key 1996 and 1997 UN General Assembly resolutions but was absent from the 1998 resolution urging universalization and ratification of the ban treaty.

Cameroon is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. According to government representatives, “Cameroon has signed the essential by signing the Ottawa Convention. There are now obligations to take concrete measures and adopt a national implementation law soon or later, the essential objective being the total ban.“[3]

Cameroon does not use, produce or export AP mines but it possesses AP mine stockpiles for training purposes. According to officials, these are tightly controlled. The precise number or types of retained AP mines are unknown. Previously, military training was provided by French, American, and Chinese Academy Schools. Under domestic legislation, Cameroon does not allow mines to transit its national territory, in any direction.[4]

Cameroon is riven by socio- and ethno-political tensions, opposing North and South, Anglophone and Francophone populations and—above all—the Bamiléké of the north-west and the Béti-Bulu ethnic complex of the South but no evidence of landmine use has been found. Cameroon’s Extreme Nord province—a major security concern—is a narrow corridor separating Nigeria and Chad. Neglected by the capital Yaoundé, it is logistically vital for neighboring Chad, being the transport channel between Chadian capital Ndjamena and the ports of the Cameroonian coast at Douala and Limbe. Since the early 1990s, the security situation in Extreme Nord has worsened sharply, due largely to politico-military unrest in Chad. In particular, political bandits and armed robbers from Chad, Nigeria and other parts of Cameroon have rendered the province insecure. So called "road cutters" (coupeurs de route) frequently use military armaments in attacks but landmines have not, as yet, figured in their arsenal.

Another potential conflict situation concerns the Nigeria-Cameroon border, particularly the Bakassi peninsula, throughout to be rich in petrocarbons.[5] Tensions broke out into low-level war in 1994, although the situation has since stabilized slightly, and the election in February 1998 of retired general Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigerian president may improve matters further.

While Cameroon is currently unable to take part in cross border financial cooperation for demining work, due to the depth of the economic crisis in the country since the mid-1980s, it is ready to work with other countries in the region on mines clearance, if demining personnel become available. Deminers may be trained in Cameroon in future, depending upon planned restructuring of the armed forces.


[1]LM Researcher interview with Iya Tidjani, Minister Counselor, Cameroon Embassy, Brussels, 24 February 1999.




[5]“Document on the Bakassi Peninsula Dispute,” Yaoundé, Ministry of Communication, 2nd edition, August 1998.