Cameroon

Mine Action

Last updated: 31 October 2017

Article 5 Deadline: 1 March 2013
(Needs to request extension)

Contamination

In 2016–2017, there continued to be a number of reports of casualties and incidents from “landmines,” including victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), reportedly laid by the non-state armed group, Boko Haram, primarily in the north of the Republic of Cameroon along its border with Nigeria. These have followed Cameroon’s increased involvement in joint military offensives against Boko Haram as part of a Multi-National Joint Task Force launched in 2015.[1] Most of the reports appeared to describe the use of victim-activated IEDs made by Boko Haram, which functioned as either antipersonnel mines or antivehicle mines.

According to military sources, the roadside IEDs deployed in 2016 were largely unsophisticated victim-activated pressure-plate devices, mainly using fertilizer-based explosive charges or other improvised explosives.[2] There are no legacy minefields in Cameroon, and incidents relating to explosive remnants of war (ERW) are reported infrequently.[3]

While the extent of contamination from improvised mines and IEDs is not known, a report by a Cameroonian analyst in 2016 claimed that mines had been used extensively around roads, houses, and vehicles, and that “damage caused by these homemade mines is becoming ever more frequent.”[4] Cameroonian military officials reported in 2015 that “huge” numbers of landmines had been planted by Boko Haram along Cameroon’s Nigerian border, posing a threat to civilians, livestock, and soldiers, and reported recurrent use of improvised mines and explosive charges along the road between Kerawa and Kolofata, targeting army vehicles.[5]

In 2016–2017, there continued to be numerous reports of casualties from mines and IEDs, both civilian and military. (See Cameroon’s casualty profile for further details.)

Program Management

Cameroon does not have a functioning mine action program.

UNMAS reported in April 2017 that Cameroon’s Military Engineer Corps has official responsibility for clearing munitions and an EOD capacity within the gendarmerie was under development to address the mine/IED threat. A capacity for battle area clearance and explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) spot tasks was also needed, it said.[6]

In June 2017, the United States (US) was reported to have donated significant quantities of demining equipment to Cameroon, including metal detectors.[7] In March 2016, it was reported that US military advisors and officers were training Cameroonian soldiers on detection and destruction techniques for mines and other explosive devices.[8] Previously, in 2015, Cameroon was reported to have received demining/EOD training and equipment from the US and Russia and armored mine-detection vehicles were provided by the US Army Africa Command.[9]

In April 2017, UNMAS confirmed that the military and gendarmerie had benefitted from substantial and ongoing specialized capacity support from international actors, including France and the US, but noted a shortage of equipment, and called for further IED awareness and EOD training.[10]

Land Release

It is not known to what extent mine clearance or EOD has been undertaken in affected areas.

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Cameroon is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Its Article 5 deadline to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control expired on 1 March 2013.

Under the treaty’s agreed framework, Cameroon should immediately inform all States Parties of any newly discovered antipersonnel mines following the expiry of its Article 5 deadline and ensure their destruction as soon as possible. If necessary, it should also submit a request for a new Article 5 deadline, which should be as short as possible and not more than 10 years. Cameroon must continue to fulfil its reporting obligations under the convention, including on the location of any suspected or confirmed mined areas under its jurisdiction or control and on the status of programs for the destruction of all antipersonnel mines within them.[11]

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted some mine action research in 2017, including on survey and clearance, and shared all its resulting landmine and cluster munition reports with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

 



[1] M. P. Moore, “This Month in Mines, February 2015,” Landmines in Africa blog, 12 March 2015; and “Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF),” GlobalSecurity.org, undated, but 2017.

[2] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS explosive hazard mitigation response in Cameroon, 9 January–13 April 2017,” 30 April 2017, p. 11.

[3] Ibid., p. 1.

[4]Boko Haram Landmines Inflict Heavy Toll on Cameroon,” Latin American Herald Tribune, 25 June 2016.

[5] M. E. Kindzeka, “Land Mines Hamper Cameroon, Chad in Fight Against Boko Haram,” Voice of America, 3 March 2015; and M. E. Kindzeka, “Boko Haram Surrounds Havens with Land Mines,” Voice of America, 24 May 2015.

[6] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS explosive hazard mitigation response in Cameroon, 9 January–13 April 2017,” 30 April 2017, pp. 12 and 14.

[7]US donates mine-clearing devices to Cameroon,” Journal du Cameroun, 24 April 2017.

[8] M. E. Kindzeka, “Cameroon Vigilantes Hunt for Boko Haram Landmines,” Voice of America, 4 March 2016.

[9] M. E. Kindzeka, “Land Mines Hamper Cameroon, Chad in Fight Against Boko Haram,” Voice of America, 3 March 2015; and “US Helps Cameroon in Fight Against Boko Haram,” Voice of America, 17 October 2015.

[10] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS explosive hazard mitigation response in Cameroon, 9 January–13 April 2017,” 30 April 2017, p. 1.

[11] Final Report of the Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 21 January 2013, p. 10.