Overview: In 2017, Cameroon experienced significant terrorist activity in the Far North Region. The Government of Cameroon attributed the violence to Boko Haram as opposed to ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA). Lake Chad region governments and media rarely make a distinction between Boko Haram and ISIS-WA and instead generally refer to both groups as Boko Haram. Boko Haram continued to regularly carry out attacks in Cameroon, primarily through the use of suicide bombers, while ISIS-WA attacked less frequently, targeting military outposts and generally refraining from killing civilians.

Countering terrorist threats remained a top security priority for the Government of Cameroon. It continued its cooperation with the international community, remained a member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, contributed significantly to operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force, and continued to work with the United States to improve the capacity of its security forces.

The Cameroonian government began formulating a reintegration plan for former Boko Haram fighters for the first time in 2017. On October 20, four ex-terrorists who claimed to have defected from Boko Haram were allowed to return to their village in Tolkomari. Although local residents expressed skepticism, the government declared it was the state's duty to protect them and treat them with respect. Although efforts to institutionalize formal defections and reintegration policies were nascent, the government announced that a permanent location for ex-combatants in Zamai would serve as a de-radicalization and re-socialization center. Cameroon joined the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in 2017.

2017 Terrorist Incidents: Boko Haram continued to take advantage of weaknesses in Cameroon's border security to conduct terrorist attacks in the country's Far North Region, including suicide bombings, targeted killings, kidnappings, and raids in search of supplies. Boko Haram perpetrated multiple and indiscriminate killings against civilians – Muslim and Christian alike – but also against government officials and military forces. Although Cameroonian forces have become more effective at combatting Boko Haram, dozens of attacks, often suicide bombings, occurred in 2017. These included an attack in February that killed three soldiers, one in April that killed four vigilance committee members (vigilance committees are groups of ordinary residents who help protect the area from Boko Haram attacks), one in July that killed 14 people and wounded 32 others, and one in August that left 15 dead and eight abducted. In the very far northern area of the country, ISIS-WA conducted a few attacks, targeting military outposts, and generally refrained from killing civilians.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no significant changes since the 2016 report. In 2017, the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program delivered two Explosive Incident Countermeasures trainings, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Commanders Workshop, and a mentorship program with Cameroonian EOD personnel to build Cameroon's counter-improvised explosive device capacity.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cameroon is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), a Financial Task Force-style regional body, and its financial intelligence unit, the National Agency for Financial Investigation, is a member of the Egmont Group. There were no significant changes since the 2016 report. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): The Government of Cameroon does not have a national CVE action plan, but officials at all levels acknowledged radicalization to violence as a significant concern and said they integrate it into their work and planning. The government partnered with faith-based organizations, such as the Council of Imams and Religious Dignitaries of Cameroon (CIDIMUC), to educate citizens on the dangers of radicalization to violence, to promote religious tolerance, and to present religion as a factor for peace. Programs furthered these objectives through targeted messaging in mosques, special prayer sessions, press releases, and through roundtable discussions and conferences bringing together people from various religious backgrounds. One of CIDIMUC's strategies has been to improve the living conditions of imams.

In 2017, the U.S. Agency for International Development expanded the scope of a community resilience and peace-building program it launched in December 2015. Using a network of community radio stations, the program focused on strengthening the resilience of communities through radio programs focused on peace building, which were transmitted in 26 languages in the north and far north regions.

Cameroonian cities Yaounde II, Kolofata, Kousseri, Meri/Diamare, and Mokolo are members of the Strong Cities Network.

International and Regional Cooperation: There were no significant changes since the 2016 report.


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