BY PETER EFANDE
Cognizant of the security challenges faced by countries in the Gulf of Guinea, the Cameroon Navy does not want to be caught napping in the fight against pirates who threaten the security of our national territory. Within this premise, a one-week military drill code-named “OCTOPUS 2013” grouping officers, sub officers and the rank and file of the navy took place off the coast of Limbe near Mabeta as from September 5.
Under the supervision of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Mendoua Jean, rehearsals revolved in three phases namely in the sea, on land and in the coastline. With all the components of the navy involved, the objective of the exercise was aimed at destroying a haven for pirates in the locality and capturing them, identifying stocks of arms hidden in the locality and neutralising any threat from pirates at sea. Within the framework of this exercise, the navy also fine-tuned the control of suspected boats dubbed Vessel Boats Search and Seizure (VBSS) and upgrading communication
.After the exercise that closed doors on Saturday September 7,, the visibly elated Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Mendoua Jean voiced optimism that the objective geared towards the capacity building of the Navy in the fight against sea pirates, has been attained. He noted that the Navy was in tandem with new technologies and hailed the government for making available to the Navy modern equipment that facilitates the combat readiness of his men to face any challenges be it on sea or inland.
He justified why the exercise was imperative by stating that pirate activities have affected the security and socio-economic activities not only in Cameroon but in the entire Gulf of Guinea. Pirates are now well-equipped, he said. Reason why Heads of State and Governments of the zone met recently in Yaounde to map out strategies to face this canker-worm. As such, “OCTOPUS 2013” is not only a stitch in time but an initiative hailed by the local population and the authorities in and around Fako Division.
The Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council Mr. Motanga Andrew Monjimba hailed the organisers of the training exercise. This, he said, was because it washes away “the trauma of the 2008 bank attacks ” when unidentified gunmen raided the town of Limbe.” Other pirate attacks in the high seas, the ECOBANK attack in Douala and other pirate incidents in the Bakassi Peninsular are still current in the minds of the population of the South West Region. These despicable acts did not elude the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Zang III who, representing the Governor, praised the Navy for ‘”these laudable measures aimed at ensuring and boosting the security of the people of Fako Division and the South West in general.” Certificates were awarded to the participants of the exercise before an impressive march past at the Manga Williams Avenue in Limbe