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China steps up its military cooperation with Cameroon

By Messi Bala and Aloys Onana | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2014-11-02 13:47

 China steps up its military cooperation with Cameroon

Chinese ambassador to Cameroon, Wo Ruidi, signed a memorandum of understanding over Chinese-built military equipment worth more than 30 million yuan ($4.9 million)on Oct 23. Provided to China Daily

In order to support Cameroon's efforts in the fight on terrorism, a memorandum of understanding on Chinese equipment was signed on Oct 23 between Cameroon defense minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o and Chinese Ambassador Wo Ruidi. The two met in the auditorium of the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Yaounde, the capital city.

The equipment is worth 30 million yuan ($4.9 million) and is intended for the Cameroonian navy. Mebe Ngo'o expressed "the gratitude of the president, Paul Biya, for this additional demonstration that illustrates the exemplary cooperative relations between China and Cameroon."

For his part, Wo said the gratitude of his country for the role of Cameroon "for their efforts to free our compatriots who remained hostage after nearly seven months of captivity."

Ten Chinese and 17 local hostages were released in Cameroon, where they were kidnapped earlier this year in raids blamed on the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Cameroon's president announced on Oct 11, Agence France-Presse reported.

"The 27 hostages abducted on May 16 in Waza and July 27 in Kolofata were released to the Cameroonian authorities this night," President Paul Biya said in a statement on national radio, the report said.

The Chinese diplomat also praised military cooperation "that is strengthened every day".

Wo said the equipment offered by his country will strengthen the capacity of the Cameroonian navy to fight against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as terrorist attacks.

Military cooperation between the two countries is expected to grow further with the visit of Mebe Ngo'o to China in November. He had visited Qingdao, in East China, in April, when he received two new patrol ships at the city's shipyard. The P109 and P108 patrol craft then entered into the Cameroonian naval fleet during a ceremony.

In another sign of military cooperation with China, four Cameroonian navy engineers - Jules Alain Lonla, Adolphe Olivier Eyenga Mimbang, Herman Conrad Ndongo Etame and Frank Fabian Batindek - monitored and participated in their construction in Qingdao.

Each of the two patrol ships constructed in China has several floors and the latest generation of equipment. Each patrol ship hosts a crew of 36. On board the P109, Major General Camille Nkoa Atenga, comptroller general of Cameroon's army, participated in the observation of successful tests of stability in the waters of Qingdao.

In 2011, the acquisition of the patrol ships was proposed after a visit to Cameroon from Hui Liangyu, Chinese vice-premier at the time. During a state visit by Biya to China the same year, the agreement was firmed up. A credit agreement was signed in 2013 between the Chinese company Polytechnologies and Cameroon's Ministry of Defense with financing by China Exim Bank.

The ships are expected to strengthen surveillance of Cameroon's coastline against terrorist attacks on the high seas and in its maritime economic space, where more than 85 percent of its trade with the world passes.

The two patrol vessels arrived at the port of Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, in May.

The new convention signed by Cameroon's defense minister and the Chinese ambassador will permit Cameroon to reinforce its armament. China also reportedly has promised some helicopters to the Central African country.

For China Daily


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