Cameroon Military - 2021


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Military and security forces

Cameroon Armed Forces (Forces Armees Camerounaises, FAC): Army (L'Armee de Terre), Navy (Marine Nationale Republique, MNR, includes naval infantry), Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Cameroun, AAC), Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillons d’Intervention Rapide, BIR), Gendarmerie, Presidential Guard (2021)

note - the Rapid Intervention Battalion, a brigade-sized force comprised of several high-readiness land units, maintains its own command and control structure and reports directly to the President, rather than the Defense Minister

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2019)

1.1% of GDP (2018)

1.3% of GDP (2017)

1.3% of GDP (2016)

1.3% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 117

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies widely; approximately 40,000 active duty troops; (25,000 ground forces, including the BIR and Presidential Guard; 2,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force; 12,000 Gendarmerie) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAC inventory includes a mix of mostly older or second-hand Chinese, Russian, and Western equipment, with a limited quantity of more modern weapons; since 2010, China is the leading supplier of armaments to the FAC (2020)

Military deployments

750 Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (Jan 2021)

note: Cameroon has committed approximately 2,000-2,500 troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram; national MNJTF troop contingents are deployed within their own country territories, although cross‐border operations occur occasionally

Military service age and obligation

18-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; high school graduation required; service obligation 4 years; periodic government calls for volunteers (2019)

Maritime threats

tthe International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; in 2020, there were 98 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea region; although a 24% decrease from the total number of incidents in 2019, it included all three hijackings and 9 of 11 ships fired upon worldwide; while boarding and attempted boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews are the most common types of incidents, almost a third of all incidents involve a hijacking and/or kidnapping; in 2020, a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, representing 95% of kidnappings worldwide; approximately 51% of all incidents of piracy and armed robbery are taking place off Nigeria, which is a decrease from the 71% in 2019 and an indication pirates are traveling further to target vessels; Nigerian pirates are well armed and very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2021-002 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 9 January 2021, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Military - note

the FAC is largely focused on the threat from the terror group Boko Haram along its frontiers with Nigeria and Chad (Far North region) and an insurgency from armed Anglophone separatist groups in the North-West and South-West regions (as of Feb 2021, this internal conflict has left an estimated 3,000 civilians dead and over 700,000 people displaced since fighting started in 2016); in addition, the FAC often deploys units to the border region with the Central African Republic to counter intrusions from armed militias and bandits

NOTE: The information regarding Cameroon on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cameroon 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cameroon 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.