China has donated 6.86 million euros ($7.95 million) to Cameroon’s army to boost its “peacekeeping and security operations”, state radio reported Thursday.
The donation was made on Wednesday by China’s ambassador to the central African country, Wang Ying Wu, in a meeting with Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo, CRTV reported.
The ambassador told state radio that the grant was intended to help Cameroon’s army “reinforce its capacities in peacekeeping and security operations in the region”.
Cameroon faces armed challenges in the Far North region, where jihadists from neighbouring Nigeria’s Boko Haram are active, and in the Northwest and Southwest regions, where separatists from the English-speaking minority have launched an insurgency.
The army has been accused of serious human rights abuses in areas where troops are active, including filmed extrajudicial killings of women and children put on social media and condemned by Amnesty International on July 12. The government first dismissed the video as a fake, but President Paul Biya later ordered an investigation.
A presidential election has been set for October 7 in a tense climate, particularly in the west, where anglophones make up about a fifth of the population of the mainly French-speaking country.
Paul Biya, who is 86 and has ruled for almost 36 years, has announced that he is ready to run for a seventh term in office.
About 10 challengers have submitted their candidacy applications to Election Cameroon (Elecam), the body organising the poll. Final approval or rejection is down to the Constitutional Council.