5, February 2019
Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji said Monday government forces have been given the order to hit “hard” on kidnappers in its mountainous Adamawa region.
“The state has the will and the means to put things in order. The Head of State appreciates what we have done so far to neutralize most of those dangerous criminals. All the forces of law and order and the administrative and judicial authorities have to be very hard. They have to crack down on these criminals.” Nji told reporters upon arrival in the region’s capital Ngaoundere.
Nji said, he was sent by President Paul Biya to the region to distribute gifts to the affected population and hold working sessions with security and administrative authorities.
“For the past 16 months, the local people have been victims of all sorts of atrocities. President Paul Biya has given firm instructions that this criminal enterprise must be put to an end,” he said.
About 300 cases of kidnapping have been reported in the region over the last three years, according to local authorities, and at least 2 billion fcfa (about 3.6 million U.S. dollars) is estimated to have been paid as ransom and 5,000 cows stolen.
Last week, President Paul Biya deployed 130 “special forces” to the region to “restore peace and order.” Highway robbers had previously operated in the rugged and sparsely-populated region, but were forced to escape after Cameroon elite force, Rapid Intervention Battalion, intervened.