Cameroon

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 03 August 2017

Summary: State Party Cameroon ratified the convention on 12 July 2012. It voted in favor of a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2016. Cameroon has attended almost every meeting of the convention and has elaborated its views on important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the convention.

Cameroon provided an initial transparency report for the convention in August 2014, confirming that it has not used or produced cluster munitions. It has reported a stockpile of six cluster munitions and 906 submunitions that must be destroyed by January 2021.

Policy

The Republic of Cameroon signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 15 December 2009, ratified on 12 July 2012, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 January 2013.

Cameroon has reported various sections of its Penal Code as well as relevant decrees and existing laws under national implementation measures applicable to the convention.[1] It is considering enacting specific legislative measures in addition to the 2011 ratification law.[2] In September 2016, a representative from Cameroon’s Ministry of Defense told the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that a bill aiming to provide domestic application of the Mine Ban Treaty and other disarmament instruments was due to be considered during the next parliamentary session.[3]

Cameroon provided an initial Article 7 transparency report in August 2014, and submitted an updated report in April 2015.[4] The reports do not appear to have been uploaded to the UN website until 2016.[5]

Cameroon participated in the Oslo Process and joined in the consensus adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin in May 2008, but was unable to sign the convention in Oslo in December 2008 due to difficulties in securing authorization.[6] It signed the convention at the UN in New York in December 2009.

Cameroon has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2016. It attended the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and intersessional meetings in 2013–2014. Cameroon has also participated in regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in August 2016.[7]

Cameroon voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2016.[8]

Cameroon has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2016.[9]

Cameroon has elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the convention. In 2011, the Ministry for External Relations stated, “Cameroon has never produced, used, or stockpiled let alone served as a platform for the transit or transfer of cluster munitions. It therefore approves a) the prohibition on the transfer of cluster munitions; b) the prohibition on the assistance in joint military operations; c) the prohibition on foreign stockpile of cluster munitions; d) the prohibition on investments in cluster munitions.”[10]

Cameroon is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In August 2014, Cameroon reported a stockpile of six BLG-66 Belouga cluster bombs containing a total of 906 “grenades,” a term sometimes used to describe explosive submunitions.[11] It is unclear when Cameroon acquired these cluster munitions, which were produced in France. The lot number it reported suggests the cluster munitions were produced in 1983.[12]

Cameroon has stated on several occasions that it has not used or produced cluster munitions.[13]

Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Cameroon must destroy all its stockpiled cluster munitions as soon as possible, but not later than 1 January 2021.



[1] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, August 2014.

[2] Cameroon’s ratification legislation, Law 2011/003, was adopted on 6 March 2011 and signed into law by President Paul Biya on 6 May 2011.

[3] ICBL-CMC meeting with Col. Floribert Njako, Diplomatic Adviser, Ministry of Defense, Cameroon delegation to the Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 6 September 2016.

[4] As of 30 June 2017, Cameroon has not provided the updated report that was due by 30 April 2017.

[5] An internet archiving service shows that the UN database of Convention on Cluster Munitions transparency reports did not have any reports for Cameroon until August 2016.

[6] For details on Cameroon’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2010, see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 126–127.

[7]The Addis Ababa Commitment on Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Africa Regional Workshop on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 5 August 2016.

[8]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016. Cameroon voted in favor of a similar UNGA resolution on the convention in 2015. “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[9]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 71/203, 19 December 2016. Cameroon voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2015.

[10] Original text in French: “Le Cameroun, n’est producteur, ni utilisation, ni stockeur encore moins une plate-forme de transit et de transfert des armes à sous-munitions. Il approuve par conséquent a) l’interdiction de transfert des sous-munitions; b) l’interdiction d’assistance en opérations militaires conjointes; c) l’interdiction de stocker des armes à sous-munitions étrangères; d) l’interdiction d’investir dans les armes à sous-munitions.” “Cameroon and the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” statement provided to Handicap International in email from Dr. Yves Alexandre Chouala, Ministry of External Relations, 12 May 2011.

[12] Each bomb contains 152 submunitions in external pockets. Cameroon reported a total of 906 submunitions rather than 912 submunitions.

[13] Statement of Cameroon, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 15 September 2011; statement of Cameroon, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, Closing Plenary, 30 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action; and statement of Cameroon, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 10 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 October 2017

Policy

The Republic of Cameroon signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 19 September 2002, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2003.

Legislation to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically has not been enacted. Cameroon submitted its initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report on 5 December 2005 and a subsequent report in August 2009, but has not provided any further annual reports.

Cameroon destroyed its stockpile of 9,187 antipersonnel mines in April 2003. Cameroon apparently retains 3,154 “inactive mines” for training purposes.[1] Cameroon has not provided further reporting on the use of retained mines, as agreed by States Parties.

Cameroon attended the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago, Chile, in November–December 2016, but did not make any statements. It did not attend the treaty’s intersessional meetings in June 2017.

Cameroon is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, but not CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Use

Cameroon has previously stated that it has not used, produced, or exported antipersonnel mines and will not facilitate their transit through its country.[2]

Non-state armed groups

In both 2016 and early 2017, UNMAS identified use of pressure plate-initiated improvised mines by Boko Haram in northern Cameroon. However, it is unclear if these improvised mines are detonated due to the pressure exerted by weight of a person or a vehicle.[3]

Most recently, a soldier and two civilians were killed on 15 September 2017 by a landmine planted by Boko Haram between Abdouri and Woulba, in the country’s northern region.[4]

The use of victim-activated improvised mines has regularly been reported in the northern extreme of the country, where it shares borders with Nigeria and Chad, though several of the incidents reported as “landmines” in the press appear to be antivehicle mines or remote-controlled improvised explosive devices.[5] In May 2015, Cameroon’s Defense Minister, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, stated that the Cameroonian military’s efforts to secure the country's northern border with Nigeria are being hampered by landmines planted by Boko Haram.[6] Boko Haram has been documented to manufacture and use victim-activated improvised explosive devices across the border in Nigeria.[7] In 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the presence of landmines in Fotokol and Mayo Moskota, both in Logone et Chari department.[8]



[1] See, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 273.

[2] Statement of Cameroon, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 19 September 2002.

[3] UNMAS, “Mission Report: UNMAS Explosive Hazard Mitigation Response in Cameroon 9 January–13 April 2017,” undated, p. 11.

[4] Simon Ateba, “Cameroon: Over 109 Houses Set on Fire by Boko Haram in Overnight Attacks,” Cameroon Concord, 18 September 2017.

[5] See for instance, Felix Nkambeh Tih, “Landmine explosion kills 2 soldiers in north Cameroon,” Anadolu Agency, 24 April 2014.

[6] Moki Edwin Kindzeka, “Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines,” Voice of America (VOA), 24 May 2015; Moki Edwin Kindzeka, “Cameroon Vigilantes Hunt for Boko Haram Landmines,” VOA, 4 March 2016; and “Six villagers injured in Boko haram landmine explosion,” Journal du Cameroun, 17 May 2017.

[7] See, ICBL, “Country Profile: Nigeria: Mine Ban Policy,” 21 November 2016.

[8] UNHCR/International Organisation for Migration (IOM), “Cameroon: Far North – Displaced Population Profiling,” 19 May 2015.


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.