Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The security situation in the Cameroonian border town of Fotokol, in the Logone et Chari division remains tense, since Boko Haram militants stormed the town of Gambaru in Nigeria last August 25.

Gunshots are exchanged daily between Boko Haram fighters and the Cameroon Army, as the Islamist group attempts to seize the Elbeid Bridge, on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Wednesday afternoon a Boko Haram militant was shot dead, just as our reporter fonka muta beau-bernard arrived Fotokol. He updates us on the security situation at that border post.


The once buzzing city of Fotokol has slowed down, as people stay clear of the Elbeid Bridge, which Boko Haram has tried over five times in the past month to seize.

The bridge which connects the border towns of Gambaru in Nigeria and Fotokol in Cameroon, is the area’s main trading route.

Businesses are closed, schools as well as the customs office, following the closure of borders. fonka mutta beau-bernard reports on the socio-economic impact of the tensions.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Fighting Boko Haram Terrorism

If you missed my exclusive reporting on the Cameroon army taking on Boko Haram on the border with Nigeria, here is an online version.
The Cameroon Army and Boko Haram fighters are caught in a face-off in the towns of Limani, Am chide and Kidi-Makari near Kolofata over the last couple of days.

These localities all in the Mayo-Sava division of the Far North region are amongst the new frontlines in the conflict opposing the army to the Islamic militant group.

Limani and Am chide came under attack over the weekend, and gunshots are fired almost on a daily basis. fonka mutta beau-bernard reports on the latest in the conflict theatre.

The security concerns of the last couple of months is being felt in most spheres of society, notably in business. The closure of the borders, and night time transport restrictions are all affecting life in the region.

However the seizure of weapons from a Boko Haram operative in Kousseri one of Cameroon’s northernmost towns this week again demonstrates Cameroon’s determination to smoke out Boko Haram militants from the country.

As fonka mutta beau-bernard reports customs revenue collection and tourism are some of the worst affected sectors.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cameroon Fastfood Rising

A couple of months back, the pilot show of Talkbusiness 237 dwelled on the Rise of Fastfood in Cameroon.
For a pilot, our team was partly satisfied with the overall direction the show was taking. If you have watched our show on fruit farming and processing you can certainly see the progress in the packaging and depth of the show.

Encouraged by the reactions on the second episode (which came online earlier) we now reward your comments with the first, which was a little bit rough around the edges, but equally enriching.

Here below is the rise of fastfood in Cameroon, a niche many entrepreneurs are getting into.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fruits Can Create Jobs

In the September episode of Talkbusiness 237, the team focuses on fruit farming and processing. A theme inspired by the incredible amount of fruit wastage observable in Cameroonian towns. The sector so in need of industrialisation, holds the potential of creating jobs for young unemployed.

In this edition we examine the problem of fruit wastage, while highlighting the efforts of some entrepreneurs who are pioneering in the domain in Cameroon.

Watch the entire show in the video below.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bakassi a year after

Tomorrow August 14, marks a year after the complete ceding of the once disputed Bakassi Peninsula by Nigeria to Cameroon, after a 2002 ICJ court ruling, and the Green Tree Accord. I am currently in the area shooting a documentary film.

I blog tonight from somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean. Bobbing and swaying like a baby on a rocking chair (Latitude 4.22/ Longitude 8.81). Yes, I am on the military support vessel, the Rio Del Rey, anchored in the middle of the oilfield that also bears the same name.

But the comfort of the vessel, has not wiped off the terrifying sensations of this week’s boat trips from Idenau to Jabane, Jabane to Akwa, and Jabane to the Rio Del Rey oilfield (tomorrow I head out to Idabato).

Waterways are the solution, highways almost impossible in marshes
Before looking at the complex issue of administering Bakassi, let’s look at the highlights of my trip so far.

Nigerian-built bunker at Akwa
Apart from meeting the former hostage and Mayor of Kombo Abedimo, I saw this bunker and a metal helmet worthy of the Second World War, next to the site where the official hand-over of Bakassi was staged in 2008. The bunker was constructed by the Nigerian troops stationed there during the conflict, as shelter for their senior officers.

war relic at hand-over site, Akwa

I also stood before this post-colonial building,
Full Gospel Church exhibit at ICJ
constructed in the president Ahidjo era today a Full Gospel Church, used by advocate Maurice Kamto as evidence during the ICJ hearings at The Hague of Cameroonian presence in the area.

I walked the beach of Jabane with ‘Quatorze’, the oldest dog at the military base. The first soldiers met the dog at the base on August 14, 2008 when they arrived. It has had many siblings with just 7 surviving.

Quatorze accompanies almost each of the special ops soldiers now in the area on patrol, he even patrolled when soldiers felt the small village was too risky and stayed in camp. Quatorze is in his own right part of the Bakassi story.

Certainly there is always a human side to the story, as I watched young boys of Ibiobio and Ijaw descent, either taking their fish to the drier or weaving their nets, I wondered if they have birth certificates, a teacher, and feel Nigerian or Cameroonian?

Bakassi boy takes fish to drier

My malicious side has also had a good laugh at both my colleagues, and military staff hanging their phones to cables, near rooftops, or pacing in patches of land in search of the rare mobile network, to call their loved ones!
press and army search for mobile network


Bakassi What next?

“We do not want to regret our decision to stay in Bakassi and accept Cameroonian rule" a Jabane reverend confided in me this afternoon, expressing the deep desire of the mainly Nigerian inhabitants not to be ‘forgotten’. He however recognizes that the random visits of senior Cameroonian administrators, is proof that this is not yet the case.

While the local community chiefs recognize their obligation to eventually contribute by way of taxes, to the government they now look up to for basic amenities, and someday participation in governance, they are aware that they must first be identified (National Identity cards or residence permits).
The men like the women are willing to get their new-born babies registered in the civil status registry (for birth certificates). This will naturally be the next testing phase as Cameroon wields full control over the Bakassi Peninsula. Telling who gets the Cameroonian nationality, who doesn’t. And most of the people I spoke to, do own Nigerian nationality and passports (dual nationality is not accepted by Cameroonian Law).
Bakassi boy weaves fishing net
Folks here still prefer to trade mainly in Naira, and are only just accepting the Franc, five years after the hand-over. Government is frantically trying to install its offices in the area, and bring vital infrastructure, (with a measure of success in some parts and less in others).
So far the biggest let-down has been failure to complete the Mundemba-Isangele to Akwa stretch, the main road link to the peninsula. On the seafront, it is practically impossible to build any roads in the marshlands, but giving councils the resources to buy boats will improve civilian transport on the many waterways. As for the Cultural Revolution, it requires more time and greater tact, books, functional schools, radio and television signals, not forgetting mobile network.