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Nigeria’s Neighbour, Cameroon Signs Strategic Military Deal with Russia*Bayo Akinloye
Cameroon and Russia have signed a strategic military pact amid the latter’s ongoing invasion and bombardment of Ukraine.
The two countries signed the military agreement on April 12, according to reports by Cameroon’s defence minister Joseph Assomo and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
THISDAY checks on understandingwar.org revealed that this was not the first time Cameroon would enter into a military deal with the European nation.
In April 2015, Russia and Cameroon signed a military-technical cooperation agreement. Also, in 2013, Cameroon signed a contract with Russia to deliver Mil Mi-17 multi-role military transport helicopters. The contract was signed with Russian state-arm-exporter Rosoboronexport, a unit of Russian Technologies.
“The Government of the Republic of Cameroon and the Government of the Russian Federation hereinafter referred to as the Parties: Recognising the strengthening of friendly relations between the States Parties on the principles of sovereignty, equality, respect for interests and non-intervention in internal affairs,” stated a document seen by THISDAY detailing the security agreement.
“The action of this agreement is automatically renewable for one following period of five (05) years, in the absence of any notification from one party to the other, in writing, of its intention to terminate it, at least six (06) months before the expiration of the initial or subsequent period of five (05) years,” it added.
“The denunciation of this agreement does not affect the implementation of the projects and cooperative activities agreed or initiated under this agreement unless the Parties agree otherwise.”
The military deal was sealed in Moscow.
Apart from Cameroon, other West African nations have longstanding military pacts with Russia, including Nigeria and Ghana.
In October 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, had signed agreements on military cooperation on the sidelines of the ongoing Russia-Africa Summit. The two leaders agreed to start new infrastructure projects and expand trade and investment, security and military cooperation.
Buhari had agreed to renew the Nigeria-Russia Military Technical Agreement, eventually leading to signing a contract for 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.
“I have directed the Minister of Defence to work with the Ministry of Justice to conclude this matter within the shortest possible time,” the Nigerian president had stated.
Buhari expected the military cooperation agreement to give impetus to further cooperation in direct procurement of military hardware on a government-to-government basis at a lower cost, training the military personnel and modernisation of armed forces.
On August 23, 2021, Nigeria signed a ‘Military-Technical Cooperation Agreement’ with Russia. This agreement terminated the earlier pact between the two countries signed on March 6, 2001.
The military pact provides a legal framework for supplying military equipment, providing after-sales services, training personnel and technology transfer, etc. Earlier in 2017, both countries had signed a cooperation agreement on military training, peacekeeping, counterterrorism, and anti-piracy operations.
In 2016, Russia and Ghana signed a military-technical cooperation agreement for weapon supplies and joint training. That same year, it signed a cooperation agreement with The Gambia.
In a related development, yesterday, the Central African Republic said it would host a Russian military base, but Moscow has not decided yet, according to TASS, the Russian news agency.
“When the State Duma chairman (Vyacheslav Volodin) visited our country, he was asked to convey a request for the creation of a Russian base in the Central African Republic to the relevant Russian officials,” CAR’s ambassador to Russia, Leon Dodonou-Pounagaza, told TASS. “I contacted Volodin in December, and we even talked about it with (Russian defence minister Sergey) Shoigu. No decision has been made yet.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that Moscow had sent an additional group of 300 instructors to train the CAR’s troops in response to the authorities’ request for assistance in repelling the onslaught of illegal armed groups.
More than 500 Russian military instructors and advisers are currently active in CAR. Moscow has repeatedly claimed that Russian instructors are stationed in the African nation on legal grounds, training the country’s troops but not participating in military activities.