Washington scales back military aid to Cameroon

US cuts aid to Cameroon over human rights concerns

US cuts aid to Cameroon over human rights concerns

USA soldiers in the military base of Cameroon.

The Pentagon and State Department said the reduced USA support involves armored vehicles, boats, aircraft upkeep and parts, helicopter training and an invitation to a partnership program.

The United States will also suspend training and the delivery of spare parts for a C-130 transport aircraft owned by Cameroon, hold back a radar system and withdraw an offer for Yaounde to take part in a program in which individual USA states help develop foreign militaries.

The committee at the hearing also made it clear that funding for ongoing programs that included educational programs and other non-military training will still be continued.

Cameroon has cooperated closely with the Western states in the fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram in West and central Africa. English-speaking insurgents have been fighting Cameroon forces in an effort to start a breakaway country called Ambazonia.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during Boko Haram's campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

"We continue to urge the Cameroonian government to take all credible allegations of gross violations of human rights seriously, investigate those allegations thoroughly, hold accountable the perpetrators of such abuses, and disclose the outcome of the investigations to the people of Cameroon", a State Department official told CNN.

Cameroon is a key US security partner, and about 300 USA troops are based there to train and assist the Cameroonian military, including in its fight against extremism in its far northern region. The Cameroonian military denied targeting civilians.

"In accordance with worldwide humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, this cooperation is also meant to help Cameroon's defence and security forces combat terrorism, especially against Boko Haram in the north of the country, while protecting the people".

In 2012 Cameroon received three Boston Whaler patrol boats from the United States to combat piracy and lawlessness in its waters, after receiving two 7 metre rigid hull inflatable boats in September 2008. "Relations between Cameroon and the United States are excellent and longstanding and we aim to continue that relationship". The decision will also impact training programs for vehicle operators, including Cameroonian soldiers who were meant to learn to pilot helicopters and C-130 airplanes.

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