7 Newly Promoted Lt. Colonels, Eight Captains, Others Decorated On January 1

Jan 2, 2024

Fako SDO, Chaibou (L) shake hands with newly promoted Lt Colonels and other Military Officers decorated 

By Francis Tim Mbom

At Man O War Bay on January 1, some seven lieutenants colonels were decorated with new epaulettes to signify their promotion: Lt. Colonel Poka D. C., Ndema William, Oumarou Tapele, Taku Pascal, and Etoundi Martial.
President Paul Biya, the head of state, signed an order on December 29, 2023, elevating over 130 military officers to senior positions, among them being the seven senior military officers who received epaulettes in Limbe.
According to the decree that was read, these promotions were in accordance with military regulations that stipulate that certain military officers who have demonstrated devotion and commitment to serving their country will be rewarded after a predetermined number of years of service in defence of Cameroon’s peace and security.
The commander of the Limbe Military Garrison, Navy Captain Landry Eric Akoutou Njonou, accompanied the Fako SDO, Chaibou, who presided over this épaulette ceremony.
The SDO was received at the BIR Training Center at Man O War Bay by the Commander of the Base, Colonel Henri Belinga.

Seven newly promoted Lt colonels - (L-R) Poka, Ndema, Tapele, and others after receiving their new epaulets
Seven newly promoted Lt colonels – (L-R) Poka, Ndema, Tapele, and others after receiving their new epaulets

Over the past few years, Cameroon has faced numerous security issues, particularly in the regions of the Far North, Northwest, and Southwest.
It is thanks to the combined efforts of soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Unit, known as the BIR in French, and those of the Navy, Marines and land forces that peace is gradually returning to all these regions.
Thus, those who were promoted and who were decorated with new epaulets on Monday, January 1, have served in some of the above-named areas in their drive to ensure security and a return to peace across the country.
In reaction to his new rank as a Lt. Colonel, Oumarou Tapele, who said he joined the BIR in 2004 and has grown up the ranks until last December 29 when the Head of State raised him from the rank of a major to a lieutenant colonel, had this to say:
“I am happy to receive this promotion. It is a sign to recognize the hard work that we have been doing and also it calls on us to work even harder to ensure the peace and security of the nation and us all.”
Lt. Colonel Tapele, it is worthy to note, is the Commander in charge of training at the BIR.
Another promoted soldier of the rank and file was also filled with emotions of joy.
“I would want to thank the Head of State and the Minister of Defence and the entire BIR family which has made it possible that the young ones can dream to grow higher,” newly promoted Sergeant, Enone Said.

BIR Commander pinning an epaulet on the shoulder of Lt. Colonel Poka.
Colonel Henri Belinga, Commander of the BIR at Man O War Bay, Limbe, (standing behind) affixes a new epaulet on Lt. Col. Poka’s shoulder.

As previously mentioned, almost 130 officers received decorations; these included eight captains, 15 sub-lieutenants, seven lieutenant colonels, and one lieutenant.
Among the non-commissioned officers, The Post gathered that there were over 50 sub-officers (Chief sergeants, adjudants) and over 50 rank-and-file soldiers.
Thus, there was a total atmosphere of happiness and celebration as the newly promoted joined their family members and military colleagues to celebrate their new ranks.
They were however all reminded that with new ranks come new responsibilities which means more dedication and commitment are needed.