Cameroon President Paul Biya’s Security And Surveillance Are In Israeli Hands

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Cameroon President Paul Biya’s security and surveillance operations have been entirely in the hands of Israeli firms for most of his 38-year reign. Cameroon President Paul Biya attends a signing ceremony at the Great Hall Of The People on Thursday, March 22, 2018, in Beijing. Image: Lintao Zhang/Pool Photo via AP

From surveillance technology to security personnel, Cameroon’s presidential security is entirely in the hands of Israeli firms.

Israel and Cameroon have enjoyed a close relationship for 60 years since the Central African country’s independence in 1960.

One of Africa’s longest-serving presidents, President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982. He has been wary of the French intelligence service ever since an attempted coup almost succeeded in 1984.

On the recommendation of the U.S., Biya turned to Israel for his country’s security needs. A combination of military tech and security expertise from Israel has helped keep him in power for the last 38 years, according to TheAfricaReport.

Since Israel was formed in 1948, its primary focus has been to develop advanced military capabilities. It has invested heavily in developing a powerful military and defense organization, including technology and expertise.

In spite of its small population of around 8.7 million people, Israel is now considered a military and cybersecurity superpower, Analyticstraining reports.

In addition to Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria are clients of Israel’s counterterrorism and military expertise and hardware, according to AlJazeera.

After Biya initiated a relationship with Israel, former Israeli intelligence agency operatives and military personnel worked to transform Cameroon’s state security apparatus.

The Israeli security experts created the Rapid Intervention Battalion, an elite military force and army combat unit of the Cameroonian armed forces which reports directly to the president.

This fighting force has played a large part in the war against the terrorist group Boko Haram in the region, VOA reports.

The Israelis also provided technology that enabled the president to intercept telephone and electronic communications in the capital, Yaounde. 

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Biya has even used special security and military units trained by Israeli security companies to put a stop to protests against his rule, according to MiddleEastMonitor.

The English-speaking regions of Cameroon have been subjected to prejudice and discrimination by the authorities and the government for many years, leading to protests against Biya’s government and policies, according to Human Rights Watch.