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CIA Report Details Cameroonian Military Numbers, Equipment

CIA Report Details Cameroonian Military Numbers, Equipment

Paru le lundi, 05 février 2024 10:26

In its recently updated World Factbook, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates Cameroon's active military personnel at 45,000-50,000. This includes 30,000-35,000 army personnel, 2,000 navy personnel, and 1,000 air force personnel. Elite units like the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) with 10,000 members, the Presidential Guard, and 10,000 gendarmes are included in the army count.

Cameroon contributes 750 soldiers and 350 police to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and 2,000-2,500 soldiers to the regional counter-Boko Haram force in the Far North region.

The report describes Cameroon's military equipment as "a wide mix of mostly older or second-hand Chinese, Russian, and Western equipment," with some recent acquisitions from China, France, and Russia. It notes that the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) enjoys better equipment and training than the wider army.

 The BIR, "while part of the Ministry of Defense, maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the Presidency. The BIR is structured as a large brigade with up to 9 battalions, detachments, or groups consisting of infantry, airborne/airmobile, amphibious, armored reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and support elements, such as artillery and intelligence," the CIA estimates.

A recent GlobalFirepower index ranks Cameroon 104th among the world's most powerful armies. In Central Africa, despite its status as the sub-region's economic powerhouse, the country has the second most powerful army, behind Chad. Since 2019, the government has been devoting 1% of the country's Gross Domestic Product to military spending.

Ludovic Amara  

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