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Arms Sold:

Negev rifles

Muskateer vehicles

Thunder MK-1

Model-839 towed gun

RAM-2000

Companies:

Soltam Systems

IAI-Ramta

Saymar

Gaia Automotive Industries

Israel Military Industries

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Cameroon

Introduction:

 

Israel’s main influence in the Cameroonian military is through the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), a controversial unit that uses Israeli weaponry and has continuously been overseen by former IDF officers. Israel’s most recent arms sales have been the trade of armored vehicles that have been used by the army and the presidential guard.

Israel – Cameroon Relations:

 

Cameroon established diplomatic relations with Israel soon after gaining independence in 1960. Like many African countries, Cameroon cut ties with Israel after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but was the first to renew them in 1986, with Prime Minister Shimon Peres making a personal visit that year.[1][2] Israel exports from Cameroon amounted to US$7.73m during 2018, following a steady decrease since 2010.[3] Israel and Cameroon have enjoyed diplomatic cordiality, with Cameroonian students being granted visas to learn about agriculture in Israel, and Israel providing medical training to Cameroonian doctors to address the Ebola epidemic in 2014.[4] The Israeli Embassy in Cameroon has also set up humanitarian projects around IDPs and refugees fleeing Boko Haram.[5] In 2020 Israel donated facemasks to Cameroon to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.[6]

Military Relations:

 

In 1984 an attempted coup led President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, to reorganize his security and replace French support with that of other foreign powers including the US and Israel. A series of Israeli individuals became involved in Cameroonian security, initially Sami Meyuhas who had worked on security in Zaire with former Mossad director general Shabtai Shavit,[7] and had been an early exporter of Israeli security goods.[8] Later participants included former IDF officers Avi Sivan, who previously trained and supervised the elite BIR unit, and Mayer Heres, who has continued to supervise the troop since Sivan’s death.

Cameroonian President Paul Biya has used special security and military units trained by Israeli security companies to quell demonstrations against his rule. The groups that received training from officers and soldiers have been active in Israeli Naval Commando elite units, Shayetet, which also provided them with Israeli weapons.[9]

The Cameroonian Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) that controversially answers directly to President Biya is locally known as the “Israeli Unit”.[10] According to various BIR soldiers, each new recruit since 2009 has received a brand-new firearm produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), an Israeli arms manufacturer. These have included ACE 21, Galil, and more recently Tavor assault rifles, which cost around $1,900 each. Israeli companies also provide the BIR with armed personnel carriers – such as the Saymar Musketeer and Thunder – and equip the Presidential Guard.[11]  [12]  [13]

Usage of Israeli Arms:

 

The outfit of the BIR has been supplied with Negev rifles, Tavor bullpup assault rifles, and Galil ACE snipers, and has received Israeli training.[14][15][16][17] The Galil has also been used by the Presidential Guard.[18]

The BIR used to be supervised by Colonel Avi Sivan, formerly an IDF officer during the First Intifada. He founded the elite Duvdevan unit that specifically operates in the occupied West Bank on densely populated areas.[19][20] He was also a private military advisor to Biya as well as defense attaché in Yaoundé, and was responsible for training the Presidential Guard.[21] After Sivan’s death in a helicopter crash in 2010, the BIR’s supervision was handed to another former IDF general Mayer Heres who had also worked in Zaire and had originally introduced Biya to Sivan.[22]

Israeli Soltam mortars have been used by the Cameroonian army in the north of the country against Boko Haram.[23]

Human Rights Violations:

 

The main source of human rights violations in Cameroon is the BIR. It was founded in 2001 to tackle criminal groups, and was used in the fight against Boko Haram in the north of the country.[24] The unit has used brutal torture on a mass scale against individuals accused of association with Boko Haram based on very little evidence. These human rights violations have in cases amounted to war crimes.[25] Over 270,000 Cameroonians have been displaced as a result of the conflict with Boko Haram since 2014.[26]

Since 2016 the BIR has been deployed in the south to quash protests from the marginalised Anglophonic population. The unit has conducted pogroms raiding and destroying property, using live ammunition against protesters, arbitrarily arresting and brutally torturing activists, raping students, and murdering civilians.[27] There has been evidence of extrajudicial killings of women and children by possible BIR soldiers.[28] In June 2019, 780,000 children were out of school.[29] Regions were turned into de facto military zones with draconian measures such as three months of blocked internet access. As of June 2019 more than 450,000 people had been displaced in the region since 2016.[30]

The Cameroonian government has also limited freedom of expression and has used force to prevent political opposition groups like the Cameroon Resistance Movement (MRC) and demonstrations have been met with excessive and indiscriminate force.[31] Cameroon punishes sexual relations between individuals of the same sex, even through digital communication.

Sales Records Table:

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc
Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
6 Model-839 155mm towed guns
Soltam
2000 (2001)
Sipri
8 CARDOM 120mm Self-propelled mortars
Soltam
2006
Sipri
5 RAM-2000 armored protective vehicle (APV)
IAI/Ramta
2008
For presidential guard
Sipri
5 Saymar Musketeer armored protective vehicles (APV)
Saymar/Elbit
2013 (2014)
For presidential guard
Sipri, Link
8 Thunder Mk-1 armored personnel carriers (apc)
Gaia Automotive Industries
2014 (2015)
Sipri
8 Thunder Mk-1 armored personnel carriers (apc)
Gaia Automotive Industries
2015
Sipri

1. ^ https://embassies.gov.il/yaounde/Bilateral-Relations/Pages/Israel-Cameroon-Relations.aspx

2. ^ https://books.google.co.il/books?id=a2HdDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT70&lpg=PT70&dq=duvdevan+elites+idf+avi+sivan&source=bl&ots=qLLE9OH5PN&sig=ACfU3U3dqxPblGo_sgORt3iT5-oZMxZ3YA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj8tZbx57_pAhX8URUIHSUXC8UQ6AEwA3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=cameroon&f=false

3. ^ https://tradingeconomics.com/cameroon/exports/israel

4. ^ https://www.israel21c.org/israeli-aid-on-way-to-fight-ebola-spread/

5. ^ https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Bilateral/Pages/Israel-in-Africa-Cameroon-30-June-2016.aspx

6. ^ https://embassies.gov.il/yaounde/NewsAndEvents/Pages/Israel-supports-Cameroon-in-the-fight-against-COVID-19.aspx

7. ^ https://www.cameroonintelligencereport.com/israel-looking-after-president-biyas-security-with-elite-forces/

8. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/1.5143112

9. ^ https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180302-israel-supports-cameroons-dictatorship/

10. ^ https://www.africamustchange.com/isreali-lawyers-call-for-ban-of-arm-export-to-cameroon-as-published-by-mbiydzenyuy-dave-wantangwa/

11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20170224093901/http:/www.janes.com:80/article/58950/cameroon-s-presidential-guard-first-known-user-of-israel-musketeer-vehicle

12. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JdjMOpaj3w

13. ^ https://africanarguments.org/2020/06/making-a-killing-israeli-mercenaries-in-cameroon/

14. ^ https://www.africamustchange.com/isreali-lawyers-call-for-ban-of-arm-export-to-cameroon-as-published-by-mbiydzenyuy-dave-wantangwa/

15. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20170622123315/http://www.janes.com/images/assets/520/71520/New-model_African_armies.pdf

16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20180626013215/http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-africa-44561929

17. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/on-the-border-and-in-the-crossfire-cameroons-war-with-boko-haram

18. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20131215174232/http://www.nonproliferation.eu/documents/other/siemontwezeman4e9eb5e5806bd.pdf

19. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/1.5143112

20. ^ https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/duvdevan-unit/

21. ^ https://www.jeuneafrique.com/193707/politique/l-isra-lien-qui-prot-geait-biya/

22. ^ https://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/276021/politique/cameroun-paul-biya-sous-protection-israelienne/

23. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20170622123315/http://www.janes.com/images/assets/520/71520/New-model_African_armies.pdf

24. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKSWiKzC4P0

25. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/07/cameroon-amnesty-report-reveals-war-crimes-in-fight-against-boko-haram-including-horrific-use-of-torture/

26. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/cameroon

27. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20180626013215/http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-africa-44561929

28. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/07/cameroon-credible-evidence-that-army-personnel-responsible-for-shocking-extrajudicial-executions-caught-on-video/

29. ^ https://www.nrc.no/globalassets/pdf/reports/nrcs-list-of-the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises/nrcs-list-of-the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises.pdf

30. ^ https://www.nrc.no/globalassets/pdf/reports/nrcs-list-of-the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises/nrcs-list-of-the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises.pdf

31. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/cameroon

Cameroon

Israel’s main influence in the Cameroonian military is through the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), a controversial unit that uses Israeli weaponry and has continuously been overseen by former IDF officers. Israel’s most recent arms sales have been the trade of armored vehicles that have been used by the army and the presidential guard.

Cameroon established diplomatic relations with Israel soon after gaining independence in 1960. Like many African countries, Cameroon cut ties with Israel after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but was the first to renew them in 1986, with Prime Minister Shimon Peres making a personal visit that year.[1][2] Israel exports from Cameroon amounted to US$7.73m during 2018, following a steady decrease since 2010.[3] Israel and Cameroon have enjoyed diplomatic cordiality, with Cameroonian students being granted visas to learn about agriculture in Israel, and Israel providing medical training to Cameroonian doctors to address the Ebola epidemic in 2014.[4] The Israeli Embassy in Cameroon has also set up humanitarian projects around IDPs and refugees fleeing Boko Haram.[5] In 2020 Israel donated facemasks to Cameroon to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.[6]

In 1984 an attempted coup led President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, to reorganize his security and replace French support with that of other foreign powers including the US and Israel. A series of Israeli individuals became involved in Cameroonian security, initially Sami Meyuhas who had worked on security in Zaire with former Mossad director general Shabtai Shavit,[7] and had been an early exporter of Israeli security goods.[8] Later participants included former IDF officers Avi Sivan, who previously trained and supervised the elite BIR unit, and Mayer Heres, who has continued to supervise the troop since Sivan’s death.

Cameroonian President Paul Biya has used special security and military units trained by Israeli security companies to quell demonstrations against his rule. The groups that received training from officers and soldiers have been active in Israeli Naval Commando elite units, Shayetet, which also provided them with Israeli weapons.[9]

The Cameroonian Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) that controversially answers directly to President Biya is locally known as the “Israeli Unit”.[10] According to various BIR soldiers, each new recruit since 2009 has received a brand-new firearm produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), an Israeli arms manufacturer. These have included ACE 21, Galil, and more recently Tavor assault rifles, which cost around $1,900 each. Israeli companies also provide the BIR with armed personnel carriers – such as the Saymar Musketeer and Thunder – and equip the Presidential Guard.[11]  [12]  [13]

The outfit of the BIR has been supplied with Negev rifles, Tavor bullpup assault rifles, and Galil ACE snipers, and has received Israeli training.[14][15][16][17] The Galil has also been used by the Presidential Guard.[18]

The BIR used to be supervised by Colonel Avi Sivan, formerly an IDF officer during the First Intifada. He founded the elite Duvdevan unit that specifically operates in the occupied West Bank on densely populated areas.[19][20] He was also a private military advisor to Biya as well as defense attaché in Yaoundé, and was responsible for training the Presidential Guard.[21] After Sivan’s death in a helicopter crash in 2010, the BIR’s supervision was handed to another former IDF general Mayer Heres who had also worked in Zaire and had originally introduced Biya to Sivan.[22]

Israeli Soltam mortars have been used by the Cameroonian army in the north of the country against Boko Haram.[23]

The main source of human rights violations in Cameroon is the BIR. It was founded in 2001 to tackle criminal groups, and was used in the fight against Boko Haram in the north of the country.[24] The unit has used brutal torture on a mass scale against individuals accused of association with Boko Haram based on very little evidence. These human rights violations have in cases amounted to war crimes.[25] Over 270,000 Cameroonians have been displaced as a result of the conflict with Boko Haram since 2014.[26]

Since 2016 the BIR has been deployed in the south to quash protests from the marginalised Anglophonic population. The unit has conducted pogroms raiding and destroying property, using live ammunition against protesters, arbitrarily arresting and brutally torturing activists, raping students, and murdering civilians.[27] There has been evidence of extrajudicial killings of women and children by possible BIR soldiers.[28] In June 2019, 780,000 children were out of school.[29] Regions were turned into de facto military zones with draconian measures such as three months of blocked internet access. As of June 2019 more than 450,000 people had been displaced in the region since 2016.[30]

The Cameroonian government has also limited freedom of expression and has used force to prevent political opposition groups like the Cameroon Resistance Movement (MRC) and demonstrations have been met with excessive and indiscriminate force.[31] Cameroon punishes sexual relations between individuals of the same sex, even through digital communication.

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc
Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
6 Model-839 155mm towed guns
Soltam
2000 (2001)
Sipri
8 CARDOM 120mm Self-propelled mortars
Soltam
2006
Sipri
5 RAM-2000 armored protective vehicle (APV)
IAI/Ramta
2008
For presidential guard
Sipri
5 Saymar Musketeer armored protective vehicles (APV)
Saymar/Elbit
2013 (2014)
For presidential guard
Sipri, Link
8 Thunder Mk-1 armored personnel carriers (apc)
Gaia Automotive Industries
2014 (2015)
Sipri
8 Thunder Mk-1 armored personnel carriers (apc)
Gaia Automotive Industries
2015
Sipri