Anglophone Crisis. Fake News Targeting Credibility of Cameroonian Military

It is common place to see derogatory publications especially on social media aimed at giving the Cameroonian Defence and Security Forces a bad name in order to discredit their professionalism.

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

Ever since violence escalated in the North West and South West Regions a couple of months ago, the social media is awash with propaganda messages especially those targeting the image of the Defence and Security Forces. The messages propagated by enemies of the regime and blood thirsty secessionists are giving a bad name to the republican forces just to hang it and draw the attention of the international community.

It is clear to every keen observer of the socio-political crisis in Cameroon that the Defence and Security forces have been exercising restraint since the crisis escalated into untold violence with the Security and Defence forces as primary target of the armed secessionists. At least 94 elements of the Defence and Security forces have been killed by the armed separatist in the two restive regions as at June, 2018.

Despite heavy casualties inflicted on the forces and civilians alike, those behind the violence as well as the armed separatist themselves have been using the social media to paint a bad image of republican soldiers deployed to restore peace and order as well as secure persons and property in the troubled North West and South West Regions. Recent, a write up make rounds on social media purported to have been written by a “defected soldier” The write up supposed that some military personnel have given up and have defected from the military because of ill treatment and the supremacy of the armed terrorists. This fake news was immediately debunked by authoritative sources at the Ministry of Defence as fake news. The highly placed military officer stated emphatically that there has been no defection in the military and that the soldiers are treated accordingly contrary to what the write up purported.

Before even the dust settled on that, the schemers came up with another fake news claiming that Brigadier General Robinson Agha, Commander of the Military Sector in Bamenda has fled to the United States. This perhaps was the joke of the century to imagine that a military General with a wealth of warfare experience would escape untrained dent gun carriers. This again was debunked by military authorities in the country stating that the senior military officer is on his duty post where operational strategies are being implemented. He is constantly in the field to give directives to his men in the field.

Just a few days ago, information on the killing of two French soldiers went viral on the social media. According to those propagating the fake news, two French soldiers and two dogs were killed by armed separatist in Belo, a locality in Boyo Division of the North West Region. It is evident to all keen observers that there are no foreign soldiers fighting the criminal groups in the North West and South West Regions. The fake news was propagate by the armed secessionist and their sympathisers at a time when French Secretary of State in the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean Baptiste Lemoyne was visiting Cameroon and pledged his country’s support for one and indivisible Cameroon. It is understandable therefore that the pro secessionist aimed at whipping up negative French sentiments.

President Paul Biya and his French counter also had a telephone conversation during that period during which both leaders shared views on jointly combating terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin.

President Biya assured Cameroonians in November 2017 during an interview at the Nsimalen Airport that measures have been taken to eliminate the criminal group. His reaction came after four soldiers and two police officers were assassinated in Manyu Division by the terrorist group.

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