Cameroon Armed Forces
Forces armées camerounaises (FAC)
Service branches
  • Army
  • Air Force
  • Navy
  • Fire Fighter Corps
  • Gendarmerie
Commander-in-ChiefPaul Biya
Deputy Commander-in-ChiefJoseph Ngute
Minister of DefenseJoseph Beti Assomo
Chief of the Defence StaffRené Claude Meka
Active personnel14,200[1]
BudgetUS$347 million[2]
Percent of GDP1.6[2]
Foreign suppliers France
Related articles
HistoryBamileke War
Bakassi conflict
CAR Civil War
Boko Haram insurgency
Anglophone Crisis
RanksMilitary ranks of Cameroon

The Cameroon Armed Forces (French: Forces armées camerounaises (FAC)) are the military of the Republic of Cameroon. The armed forces number 14,200 personnel in ground, air, and naval forces. There are approximately 12,500 troops in the army across three military regions. Approximately 1,300 troops are part of the Cameroonian Navy, which is headquartered at Douala. Under 400 troops are part of the Air Force. There is an additional 9,000 paramilitary troops that serve as a gendarmerie (policing force) or reconnaissance role.[1]

The Cameroonian armed forces have bases spread all over Cameroon, including in Ngaoundéré. Air Force bases are located in Garoua, Yaoundé, Douala and Bamenda.

It generally has been an apolitical force where civilian control of the military predominates.[citation needed] Traditional dependence on the French defense capability, although reduced, continues to be the case as French military advisers remain closely involved in preparing the Cameroonian forces for deployment to the contested Bakassi Peninsula.

"China has an ongoing military-military relationship with Cameroon, which includes training for Cameroonian military students each year in China, technical advisors to assist in repairing Cameroonian military vehicles and naval vessels, and Chinese military sales."[3]


With 12,500 troops the Army remains the most important component in terms of numbers.[4] The Army is under the responsibility of the Chief of Staff, Major-General Nkoa Atenga, whose staff is in Yaoundé.

Currently the organization dates from 2001 with a distribution in several types of units: combat units, response units (unités d'intervention), unités de soutien et d'appui, and finally special reserve units as part of 3 joint military régions (interarmées) and the 10 military land sectors.[5]

Army units have been trained and equipped to fight in the swampy coastal terrain facing the Bakassi peninsula. Although prepared for an armed conflict with Nigeria in recent years, the Cameroon Army does not have operational experience against other forces, therefore, it is not possible to assess its ability to respond to changing threats and opposing tactics.

Combat units of the army include:[6]


The territory is divided into 5 combined arms military regions (RMIA):[8]

1st Military Region

2nd Military Region

Army equipment

Oerlikon GDF of the Cameroon Armed Forces in 2016.
Oerlikon GDF of the Cameroon Armed Forces in 2016.

Note that this list shows acquired equipment and not the equipment that are currently in service. some of listed equipment are out of service.

Origin Type Acquired Notes
WMA301 Assaulter  China Tank destroyer[10] 12[11]
Type 07P  China Infantry fighting vehicle 20[10]
Ratel IFV  South Africa Infantry fighting vehicle 12[11]
Panhard AML-90  France Armoured car 31[11] 31 AML-90 Delivered via Bosnian Army in 2002[11]
M8 Greyhound  United States Armoured car 10[11] Delivered from France
M5 Half-track  United States Armoured personnel carrier 5[11]
M3 Half-track  United States Armoured personnel carrier 3[11]
Véhicule Blindé Léger  France Armoured scout car 5[11]
ACMAT Bastion  France Armoured personnel carrier 38[11] 23 arrived 2015-2016 and 15 in 2017
Gaia Automotive Industries Thunder Mk-1 APC  Israel Armoured personnel carrier 18[11]
RAM-2000  Israel Armoured personnel carrier 5[11][10]
Ferret armoured car  United Kingdom Armoured car 8[11] Probably out of service
Panthera T6  United Arab Emirates Armoured car At least 2[12] Used by Rapid Intervention Battalion
Cadillac Gage Commando  United States Armoured car 51[11] Including 20mm Autocannon and 81mm Mortar Carrier versions
Cougar (MRAP)  United States Infantry mobility vehicle 6[11]
General Dynamics Land Systems PKSV  United States MRAP 27[10]
ACMAT VLRA (Liaison, Reconnaissance and Support Vehicle) TPK-BL  France Truck 30[11]
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)  Egypt
Field gun 22[11]
M101 howitzer  United States Howitzer 16[11]
M116 howitzer  United States Howitzer 5[13]
Soltam M-71  Israel Howitzer 18[11]
BM-21 Grad  Romania Multiple rocket launcher 20[11]+?[10] 20 delivered from Romania in 1995. Some more from an unknown source in the 2010s.[10]
Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1  France Mortar 16[11]
Cardom  Israel Self-propelled mortar 8[11] to 18[10]
BGM-71 TOW  United States Anti-tank missile 24[13] 250 missiles and 24 launchers delivered in 1990[11]
MILAN  France Anti-tank missile 6[11] 6 launchers and 60 missiles delivered in 1982
HOT (missile)  France Anti-tank missile 40 40 missiles delivered for SA-342L Helicopters[11]
M40 recoilless rifle  United States Recoilless rifle 40 M40A2 Version in service[13]
M20 recoilless rifle  United States Recoilless rifle 13 Type 56 Version in use[13]
Exocet  France Anti-ship missile 15[11]
Plessey Radar Limited/BAE Systems Watchman  United Kingdom Air search radar 1 1 radar delivered from UK in 1984[11]
ZPU-2  Soviet Union Anti-aircraft gun 16[13]
Type 63 anti-aircraft gun  People's Republic of China Anti-aircraft gun 18[13] Used on ground mount
37 mm automatic air defense gun M1939 (61-K)  People's Republic of China Anti-aircraft gun 18[13]
Oerlikon GDF   Switzerland Anti-aircraft gun 21[13]

Cameroonian Air Force

Main article: Cameroon Air Force

The air force has bases in Garoua, Koutaba, Yaoundé, Douala and Bamenda. The Cameroonian Air Force was founded in 1960, the year of independence from France. There are under 400 troops in the air force.[1] Cameroon's Air Force has 9 combat-capable aircraft.[1]

Cameroon Navy

Cameroonian sailors reviewed by an American admiral in Douala, 2015.
Cameroonian sailors reviewed by an American admiral in Douala, 2015.

There are about 1,300 troops in the navy including naval infantry.[1]


Around May 1999, Philip Njaru wrote a newspaper article where he alleged ill-treatment of civilians conducted by the 21st Navy Battalion based in Ekondo-Titi. In late May Njaru was approached by the local captain who asked Njaru "to stop writing such articles and to disclose his sources". Refusing to do this, Njaru five days later found his house encircled by armed soldiers, and escaped to Kumba.[14] Here, he was assaulted by police in June 2001, with no particular reason stated.[14] Njaru complained to the local authorities, but later learned that "his complaint had not been received".[14]

Cameroon's Marine Nationale République modernised and increased its capabilities during 2000 with the acquisition of a number of small Rodman patrol craft and the retirement of some small older craft. A number of small patrol boats have been acquired or ordered from France. Latest estimates indicate naval strength consists of two combat patrol vessels, three coastal patrol vessels and approximately 30 smaller inshore and river patrol craft allocated to both the navy and the local gendarmerie. These include two 135 tonne Yunnan-class landing craft, which are able to carry and launch smaller craft for troop insertions. Some effort has been made to assess equipment needs to bring L'Audacieux P103 and Bakassi P104 to an effective combat status. This has resulted in weapons capabilities being reduced in favour of an increase in serviceability and the service is now effectively without missile attack capabilities. Bakassi (a Type P 48S missile patrol craft) completed a major refit at Lorient, France in August 1999. This included removing the Exocet missile system and EW equipment, and fitting a funnel aft of the mainmast to replace the waterline exhausts. New radars were also installed. Bakassi is now armed only with 40 mm cannon. Although the Bizerte (P48 large patrol craft) class L'Audacieux is fitted for SS-12M missiles these are not embarked and its operational status is in some doubt, having not been reported at sea since 1995. The Quartier-Maître Alfred Moto patrol boat was listed as out of service in 1991 but has since been reactivated.


Cameroon Navy patrol boat during a military parade in Douala, 2019
Cameroon Navy patrol boat during a military parade in Douala, 2019

List of active ships.[13]

Two 32-metre patrol boats are expected to be delivered in February 2014.[15]


The Gendarmerie is a paramilitary force composed of about 9,000 soldiers as of 2016. It performs both law enforcement and national security responsibilities across the country. (See Gendarmerie)

Military education

After an initial period of development, training requirements were formalized in an April 1967 per government decree. There was a shortage of Cameroonian instructors at that time. The two educational institutions of the nation are the following:

Both commissioned and noncommissioned officers were sent to various military schools in France, Greece, and the Soviet Union. The total number of Cameroonian military cadets with a Russian educational background were few.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e International Institute for Strategic Studies. (2014). Chapter Ten: Country comparisons - commitments, force levels and economics. The Military Balance, 114(1), 471–492. doi:10.1080/04597222.2014.871887
  2. ^ a b defenceWeb (14 February 2013). "Cameroon". Defence Web. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  3. ^ WikiLeaks United States diplomatic cables leak; 10YAOUNDE95
  4. ^ "Page d'erreur 404 - France-Diplomatie - Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international". 9 February 2015. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ Source: Revue Frères Armées, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  6. ^ Niagalé Bagayoko, Cameroon's Security Apparatus: Actors and Structures Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, 21.
  7. ^ "Cameroon displays new Chinese military hardware". 23 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Décrets du président de la République réorganisant l'armée et nommant des officiers au ministère de la défense" (PDF). Cameroon Tribune: 4–11. 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Defense forces: new units created - Journal du Cameroun". Journal du Cameroun. June 26, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Binnie, Jeremy; de Cherisey, Erwan (2017). "New-model African armies" (PDF). Jane's. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Trade Registers". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  12. ^ de Cherisey, Erwan (11 October 2018). "Cameroon's BIR takes delivery of Panthera T6 vehicles". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Martin, Guy (14 February 2013). "Cameroon - defenceWeb". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "Njaru v Cameroon HRC Decision". 3 April 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  15. ^ a b Martin, Guy. "Cameroon Navy receives new patrol vessels, landing craft - defenceWeb". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Nouvelles du Cameroun: Cameroon News". 1977.
  17. ^
  18. ^ [1]