The colourful ceremony at the Yaounde Military Headquarters Brigade was chaired by the President of the Republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. The bright weather that characterised the nation’s capital last Friday April 24, 2015, set the stage for the colourful and grandiose ceremony to graduate some 278 cadet officers from the Combined Services Military Academy known popularly by its French acronym, EMIA. Friday’s ceremony chaired by the President of the Republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, saw the triumph of 140 cadet officer of the 33rd batch christened “Lieutenant Youssouf Mahamat Bahar and 138 for the 34th batch baptised 50th Anniversary of Reunification. Among the officers of the 33rd batch are 111 males, 21 females eight foreigners from Gabon, Mali and Central African Republic while, the 34th batch contained 16 females and six foreign students from five countries notably Central African Republic, Mali, Gabon, Senegal, Benin and Niger.
Addressing the laureates, the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, reminded the young officers of the present circumstances in Cameroon’s history marked by a merciless war against the terrorist group Boko Haram, which is menacing our national integrity. Stating the significance of the Lieutenant Youssouf Mahamat Bahar and the 50th Anniversary of Reunification batches, President Paul Biya underlined that posterity will recall the memories of a young officer who died on March 20, 2011, in a pirate attack saying it should serve as a example to the graduating cadet officers who should be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in defending the national integrity. The 50th Anniversary of Reunification which was celebrated in Buea on February 20, 2014, he added remains indelible in the minds of Cameroonians who commemorated a rediscovery of national unity.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces paid glowing tributes to soldiers killed at the battle field as well as civilians massacred by the nefarious Boko Haram sect, adding that the nation will forever recognise the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers. He also paid homage to the Lieutenant Donkeng Joseph Kevin of the 33rdbatch who felt in the war against Boko Haram in 2014. President Biya did not also hesitate to salute and encourage the generous contributions being made by Cameroonians to support the Defence Forces. He hailed the decision by Chadian President, Idriss Deby Itno whom he described as brother and friend, to join Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram as well the international community as a whole which has understood that a single country cannot fight global menace like terrorism, piracy, arms trafficking amongst others.
While reminding the young soldiers of their mission to defend the territorial integrity of the country with honour and fidelity, the Head of State assured them of his constant support in accomplishing their mission as brave soldiers whom he said have chosen one of the best professions. Highlights of the emotion-laden ceremony was the award of epaulets to the young cadet officers with the President of the Republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, taking the lead to affix the epaulets of the best cadet officers of the two batches while the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, the Secretaries of State, Military Generals and other superior officers followed suit.
A military parade crowned the solemn ceremony with the newly graduated young officers thrilling the crowd of dignitaries and family members who could not hide their excitement as they applauded the spectacular march past that was led by the Commander of the Combined Military Services Academy (EMIA) Colonel Bengono Antoine Mesmin Kisito