618 BIR Trainee Soldiers Successfully Return To Limbe Base After 400km Walk

Jun 18, 2024

BIR trainees as they marched back to Limbe

By Francis Tim Mbom

It was a day of joy and a feeling of satisfaction at Man O War Bay, Bimbia, for some 618 trainee soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR.
The trainee soldiers, the Supervisor of the BIR Base, Col. Henri Belinga said, had successfully completed a 400km walk.
“My impression, I think it’s very good. We had selected good soldiers. And, today, they have, by completing this walk, confirmed that they are BIR soldiers.”
Col. Belinga noted that the trainees were 620 in number when they started the 400 km walk on the night of June 6, breaking June 7 from the BIR Base at Man O War Bay, Limbe.
But two trainees did not make it back to the BIR Base.
“Out of the 620 who started the walk, one of them abandoned the walk while one is hospitalized,” Col. Belinga said.

Completing Walk Is Prior Condition To Become A BIR Soldier!

Before the walk started off on the night of June 6, breaking June 7, Lt. Colonel Tapele Oumarou, who is in charge of training at the BIR Base at Man O War Bay, told the press that since 2007, completing the 400km “Marche Commando”, as it is commonly called, has become a prior condition for any new recruit to be confirmed as a BIR soldier.

Col. Henri Belinga, Supervisor of the BIR at Man O War Bay congratulates the successful trainees.
Col. Henri Belinga, Supervisor of the BIR at Man O War Bay congratulates the successful trainees.

“Today, we are starting a very important phase of the training. It’s a final drill which is a 400km March. Since 2007, the BIR started to do a 400 km walk to mark the end of training of their young soldiers after the first four months. After their first initial training, they have to walk for 400km to be confirmed as a BIR soldier,” Lt. Col. Tapele said.

Fako SDO Salutes The Trainees

The successful trainees started off the 400km walk at Man O War Bay on the night of June 6, breaking June 7. Lt Colonel Tapele said they were entitled to cover a distance of 50 km each day, take a rest and then hit another 50 kms. Thus, the eleven-day walk took them from Limbe to the Toll Gate vicinity at the Moungo Bridge (Tiko Sub Division) on the first day. After a day’s rest, they hit the road again and had their next stop at Mbanga sub Division, en route to Nkongsamba.
From here, they proceeded to Kola and, then to Melong II after Nkongsamba in the Mungo Division, Littoral Region.
From Melong II, they embarked on their return trip which saw them walk back to Limbe following the same itinery.
While back in Limbe on Monday, June 17, at about 10:00 am, they were received and saluted for their bravery by the SDO of Fako Division, Viang Mekala. The SDO, who was accompanied by his collaborators, walked with trainees from Half Mile to the Limbe Community Field where he congratulated them.
“It’s with great pleasure that I, the SDO of Fako and my entourage, got out this morning to welcome and congratulate you, our young military officers, for your successful accomplishment of this march,” the SDO said.

Fako SDO shake hands with the BIR Commanders as he receives the trainees at Half Mile, Limbe
Fako SDO shake hands with the BIR Commanders as he receives the trainees at Half Mile, Limbe

The SDO took the opportunity to thank the Head of State, Paul Biya, who launched the recruitment of these young soldiers into the military. He said the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has always been doing all in his power to continuously keep the Cameroonian military strong and capable enough to carry on with its mission of ensuring peace and defending the nation, Cameroon.
VIANG Mekala thanked the well over 600 trainee BIR soldiers for having answered to the Head of States’ call. While urging them to remain loyal and steadfast in their mission to defend the nation, he reminded them that discipline and respect for their hierarchy is the one thing that shall make them to grow in their careers as BIR soldiers.
“I don’t have much to tell you but to let you understand that you have chosen a noble and dignified course which demands from you honour and fidelity in defence of the nation, Cameroon. You have to know that being discipline is what shall enable you to grow in your career.”
He went on to thank the BIR Commanders and instructors who carried out the selection and training to ensure that the new recruits are apt enough to become effective soldiers within the BIR.

The BIR showed love and care to the local populations everywhere they stopped. Here the children are all in joy as Lt. Col. Tapele and his collaborators share out lollipops (sweets).
The BIR showed love and care to the local populations everywhere they stopped. Here the children are all in joy as Lt. Col. Tapele and his collaborators share out lollipops (sweets).

Besides the Supervisor, Col. Belinga, Of the BIR Base at Man O War Bay, Lt Col. Serge Mvondo who is charge of Logistics at the BIR Base, Touang Djakinkie among other top ranking commanders were also available.

Successful Trainees In Joy

The BIR in Cameroon is one of the military units in Cameroon that many youngsters love to belong. But the rigorous nature of the training like doing the 400km walk isn’t that easy. That’s why there was joy among the successful 618 recruits who made it back to Man O War Bay on Monday.
Issa Mark-Roy, Ndi Desmond, Fotso Ngono all expressed happiness as they talked to the press.
“I am very happy to have done it. I know that it’s completing this 400km that has transformed me to be a soldier” Issa Mark-Roy said.

Every Logistics Made Available!
During the course of the 400km walk, the authorities made available every bit of logistical support that the recruits had need for.
There was a kitchen staff that walked with them all along. They provided for their feeding at every stop of the way that food was needed.
A number of potable water tankers trailed them and made available water to the marching trainees at several stops on their way from Limbe right to Melong II and back.

Medical Team In Place

There was a team of three medical doctors and nurses all of the BIR led by Captain Alain Christol, Moussa Adamou and MoMo Fofa Jean. The team had in place all the available medications that was needed enable them take care of any medical need by any soldier of the trainees or soldier in distress.

Same Walk In Maroua

Lt. Col. Tapele disclosed that while there were 620 trainees doing the march from the BIR Base at Man O War, there was equally a similar number of their new recruits doing the same 400 at the level of their training base in Maroua in the Far North Region.

Lt. Col. Tapele Oumarou briefing the press
Lt. Col. Tapele Oumarou briefing the press

The Government, early this year, recruited some 1300 young BIR soldiers for training.

Limbe City Mayor Congratulates!
The Limbe City Mayor, Paul Efome Ngale congratulated the young BIR recruits for their successful march. He used the occasion to thank the BIR for the security which they have been providing across Limbe which has made the City one of the most peaceful in the Southwest Region.
“We the people of Limbe we feel very comfortable with the BIR. With them we have a lot of security…That is why you see that the population of Limbe came out to salute the bravery of these young soldiers.”

Fako Chiefs Offer Blessings!
On behalf of the Chiefs of Fako Division, HRH Chief Otto Molungu Molive said that they were thankful to God for the Head of State who offered the children the opportunity to be recruited. He also praised the recruits for their successful march.
“The BIR are doing a great job to make sure Fako and the rest of Cameroon is secured…That is why we are always there to invoke the powers of God to render protection to them and to Cameroon as a whole.”

Mayors Offer Courage!
It’s worth noting that all along the course of the walk, the BIR were received by the local authorities of the different municipalities where they had a stop. Thus, in Mbanga, they were received by the Mayor, Ejake Henriette, who offered them water and wished them courage.
Meantime, finally back to Man O War Bay on Monday, June 17, the trainees were received by Mayor Nseke Luma Dibotti of the Limbe III Council, Bimbia.

It’s worthy to note that the 400km walk was executed as one the major training activity that marks the end of the first phase of training for the new recruits. The successful trainees following the 400km walk shall be confirmed later in the week as full fledge BIR soldiers during a graduation ceremony to be presided at by the General in Charge of Military trainings.
After the graduation, The Post gathered, the trainee soldiers shall come back, after a short break, to complete the second phase of their training.