Cameroon’s defense consists of Army, Air Force and Marine. The country also participates in international operations. There is voluntary military service for men from the age of 18. The country has a bilateral defense agreement with France. Cameroon receives military assistance from the US, and in 2018 signed a military assistance agreement from China. The total force figures for Cameroon’s armed forces are 15,400 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 9,000 personnel come in a semi-military gendarmerie.
The army has a workforce of 13,500 active personnel. Materials include 64 light trucks, 42 storm tanks, 64 armored personnel vehicles and 18 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the army has heavy artillery and light air defense artillery.
The Air Force has a personnel force of between 300 and 400 active personnel. Materials include five MB-326 attack aircraft, two reconnaissance aircraft, four Alpha Jet type training / attack aircraft, 18 transport aircraft and 25 helicopters, of which two Mi-24 combat helicopters.
The Navy has a workforce of around 1,500 active personnel, 16 patrol vessels and four landing craft.
Cameroon participated in the UN operation in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in 2018 with an infantry battalion (755 personnel) and three observers, and with observers and a small number of personnel in the UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo ( MONUSCO) and in Mali (MINUSMA).
Mobilization against Boko Haram
Cameroon has been subjected to numerous terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, from the organization’s main base in northeastern Nigeria. These attacks have mainly been focused on villages in the Extreme North region along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.
Cameroon’s armed forces, especially led by the country’s special forces, known as the BOB, have trained with other countries ‘military in the region with support from a selection of western countries’ special forces, including Norway, to more effectively fight back against Boko Haram. As a result of this counter-offensive, Cameroonian forces, with success, have taken the fight back to piggy-back areas in the north, where the organization has long been more or less freely leased.
This fight has led to a number of casualties among locals, Boko Haram terrorists and Cameroonian soldiers.