Monday, September 14, 2015

Cameroon CAR peace troops protest over allowances

A contingent of Cameroonian soldiers from a UN mission in the Central African Republic Wednesday staged a protest in Yaoundé over the non-payment of their allowances.
The soldiers were part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in CAR.
They blocked the main entrance into the headquarters of military brigade, marched from the national assembly through the Ministry of Defence, to the Prime Minister’s office in the Cameroon capital.
The aggrieved soldiers were said to be demanding 19 months' allowance arrears for their two-year service.

One of the protesting soldiers, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid victimisation, told reporters that they had held several meetings with Cameroon’s Defence minister, which yielded nothing.
“We therefore decided today to protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office before taking the next step if a solution is not found at this level,” he said.
“The AU has transferred to the government (of Cameroon) 1050x10 months ($10500) and the UN has also added 1327x14 months ($18578$), totalling $29.078 (about CFA17,010,630) for the last grade soldiers. Officials claim they intend to cut part of the money for uniforms and training,” Cameroonian journalist Angela Forbin reported recently.
Jihadist group
Soldiers from other countries are said to have been paid directly into their home accounts upon leaving the CAR.
The UN forces in the CAR are commanded by a Cameroonian, Major General Martin Tumenta.
Maj, Gen. Tumenta headed the African Union peacekeeping in the same country until late last year, following the transfer of authority from the African-dominated mission, MISCA to the UN mission, MINUSCA.
The Cameroon government was yet to issue an official statement about the military standoff.
The protest happened at a time Cameroon’s President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Paul Biya, was on a vacation in an undisclosed country in Europe.
It is feared that elements the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) of the Cameroon defence forces fighting the jihadist group, Boko Haram in the country’s troubled north, would also stage a standoff soon.
Sources say the soldiers have long been ‘grumbling’ over low and unpaid allowances by the Cameroon government.
A military source said they (BIR) were entitled to a meagre daily risk allowance of FCA300, but the money sometimes ended up in private pockets of their bosses in Yaoundé.
When even such allowances were available, the source lamented, the distribution is irrational.

 By NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé | Wednesday, September 9  2015 at  18:08

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