Friday, January 28, 2022

UK Support for Cameroon

 Cameroon, a country with 27 million inhabitants, is run by just five men and that there is “extensive corruption.”

At the top is President Paul Biya, who has ruled the central African state with an iron fist for nearly 40 years. Now in his late 80s, he governs mostly from a luxury hotel in Switzerland.

But Britain supports his regime and conducted six secret counter-terrorism operations in Cameroon last year, it can be revealed. They have code names like Cylix, Bacchus and Abbadide.

 One recent U.K. operation, codenamed ODYSSEAN, saw a British special forces officer draft a “crisis management” doctrine for Cameroon’s president. 

In return for this and other services, Biya awarded the officer — lieutenant colonel ‘Sid’ Purser — the equivalent of an MBE.

Lt Col Purser  is stationed in Cameroon as Britain’s “senior military adviser.” 

There, he has cultivated “influential relationships” with Biya’s “right hand man,” Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, and Cameroon’s spy chief Leopold Maxine Eko Eko. Cameroon’s prime minister and defence minister appear to be the other most influential people. Eko Eko runs the country’s fearsome intelligence agency, the Directorate General Research External (DGRE).

Amnesty International has published allegations of torture throughout Eko Eko’s leadership of the DGRE. Despite Amnesty’s detailed report, U.K. Defence Minister James Heappey met Eko Eko at a dinner hosted by the British ambassador while visiting Cameroon last spring. He was also advised to “praise” Eko Eko for his counter-extremism efforts and “thank” him for letting British troops conduct “capacity building” of the DGRE at Salak,

Documents show how British diplomats overlook Biya’s “shortcomings on human rights and democracy,” partly because he voted with the U.K. to condemn the use of chemical weapons by Russia and Syria.

As well as supporting Cameroon’s intelligence agency, Britain works with the regime’s special forces. “The main focus of UK capacity building in Cameroon” is on the Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide (BIR), or Rapid Intervention Battalion, the documents show. This is a well-armed elite force of 10,000 men. They are accused of tortureexecuting women and children, and burning down a village.

Alongside the military support, Britain signed a £200 million trade deal with Cameroon last year. A British foreign minister met President Biya in March 2021 to discuss “investment opportunities”, which include a Guinness factory.

UK Enables Cameroon’s Abusive Dictatorship - Consortium News

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