The Cameroonian Navy has finalized plans to procure two U.S-made 110-foot Island class patrol vessels to enhance its maritime capabilities, according to a statement from the United States Embassy in Yaounde.
This new 110-foot Island class vessel will complement several Defender class rigid hull boats already in service with the Cameroonian Navy, which was supplied by the United States in 2017 to enhance its maritime patrols.
The United States has made significant contributions to Cameroon’s maritime security. In 2016, the United States funded the creation of six maritime operations centers in Limbe, Douala, and Kribi that enable naval operations at sea, and we will continue to provide maintenance and training for these centers this year.
Maritime security is a major challenge in the Gulf of Guinea (where Cameroon belongs) with an alarming rate of piracy incidents registered in 2019.
“Over the years, the US has provided significant security assistance to Cameroon to achieve our mutual goals in maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, countering violent extremism in the north, and supporting regional initiatives,” part of the press statement dated 21 January reads.
U.S military assistance to Cameroon halted
Although, the United States government announced in February 2019, that it has halted it’s military assistance to Cameroon following the country’s continuous human rights violation.
The US State Department said it has withdrawn some military assistance which includes a C-130 transport aircraft training program, the delivery of four Defender patrol boats, nine unidentified armored vehicles, and an upgrade to the Cessna 208 surveillance aircraft to be operated by the Rapid Intervention Battalions.
Last year, Amnesty International released an analysis of two videos that appeared to show Cameroonian security forces executing unarmed people, including children, in the country’s far northern region.
The US has been under severe criticism for supporting the brutal Paul Biya regime which has seen Cameroonian military repeatedly targeting civilians.
The Four Defender class patrol boats scheduled to be given to Cameroon were subsequently donated to Djibouti