General Philip Mpay Tells Graduating BIR Trainee Soldiers Defence Of Nation Paramount

Jun 22, 2024

General Philip Mpay inspecting the Graduating BIR trainee soldiers as he arrived at Man O War Bay

By Francis Tim Mbom

The General in charge of Military and Para-military Training Schools in Cameroon has told 1230 BIR trainee soldiers who graduated on Friday, June 21 and took their first oath to defend the nation of Cameroon that they are required to do so with honor and fidelity.
He further told them that they should be ready to defend the nation and its constitution, even to the point of offering the supreme sacrifice.
“By presenting the national flag before you today, I do hereby exhort you for total respect to the nation and all its values. The presentation of the flag is also an opportunity for you to take your oath to defend the nation, its constitution, and all its institutions from all its enemies, both internally and externally.”
“From today,” the General continued, “you have become soldiers to serve the Republic of Cameroon.”
General Philip Mpay was speaking on Friday, June 21, at Man O War Bay as he presided at the graduation ceremony of some 1230 trainee soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, code-named BIR in French.
It should be noted the training began with a total number of 1307 who were recruited early this year following a request by the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Paul Biya.
The 4 months training exercise took place at Man O War Bay and also at the BIR Training Center in Maroua in the Far North Region.

Graduating BIR trainee soldiers during a March past session after pledging to serve with honour and fidelity
Graduating BIR trainee soldiers during a March past session after pledging to serve with honour and fidelity

Thus, Friday’s graduation ceremony was to mark the end of the training that started on February 19.
Out of the above total of 1307 recruits, a total of 1230 trainees successfully went through the first four months of the training which involved a total of some 650 who were placed at Man O War Bay and the others at the Maroua Base.
It is worth remembering that to qualify for graduation and be fully admitted as a full BIR soldier, the trainees had a final task that required them to complete a 400 km march.
Lt. Colonel Tapele Oumarou who is in charge of training at the Man O War Base had this to say to the press.
“The recruitment started with 1307. Today, we had a total of 1230 which means 77 of them didn’t complete the training,” Lt. Colonel Tapele said.
The Colonel disclosed that some 33 of the recruited trainees dropped out during the training while the others didn’t complete due to medical issues that made them unable to withstand the rigorousness of the training.
Colonel Tapele noted that the graduating 1230 were not yet full BIR soldiers. The training only enabled them to be enlisted as soldiers of the second grade with the BIR.
They are expected, the Colonel said, after a two-week rest with their families to come back and complete the remaining five months of their training course.
“These young soldiers have learned how to be soldiers. This means that for the past four months, they have learned how to conduct themselves individually as soldiers during combat,” Col. Tapele said.
The ceremony was marked, first, by the graduating soldiers who took an oath of service before the national flag and pledged to serve the nation with total abnegation, honor, and fidelity.
They swore to serve even if it meant committing their whole lives just to defend the nation.

Lt. Colonel Tapele (R) handing over a certificate to one of the graduating BIR soldiers
Lt. Colonel Tapele (R) handing over a certificate to one of the graduating BIR soldiers

Captain Moussa Adamou who is the Director of Training at the BIR Training Center made a presentation of the best five trainees who were rewarded with certificates of recognition.
The General and his collaborators handed over the certificates with words of encouragement to the five.
This was followed by the Fako SDO, Engelbert Viang Mekala, who, on behalf of the Head of State, proceeded to salute the five as he also congratulated them.
The ceremony was also marked by several displays by the trainees of some of the tactics that the trainees had been drilled with for the past four months.
The General and the other top military, Administrative, and civilian personnel who accompanied him were shown around as they watched the displays with amusement.
Amongst those who assisted the General during the ceremony was the Supervisor of the BIR Base at Man O War Bay, Col. Henri Belinga. Besides him were Col. Serge Mvondo, Col. Touang Djakinkie, and top officials of the BIR who came from the Presidency.

General Philip Mpay (R) congratulates the Best Graduating BIR soldier
General Philip Mpay (R) congratulates the Best Graduating BIR soldier

The ceremony also had the presence of the Commander of the Limbe Military Garrison, Navy Captain Eric Landry Njonou Akoutou was also assisted in the activities of the day.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of Chief Etina Monono of Great Soppo in Buea and a host of other Fako Chiefs.

Graduating Soldiers Happy, Ready To Serve

To become a BIR soldier is a huge dream that is being held by many young Cameroonians.
But to be recruited isn’t enough. It takes any recruit a great task to be able to go through the first phase of the training which is, often, very rigorous. To be counted as a BIR soldier, any recruit must complete a 400 km walk which is considered as the final task that confirms any recruit as a BIR soldier.
Thus it was a great joy to the graduating 1230 soldiers on Friday, June 21, as was expressed by some of the graduating soldiers among them Issa Mark-Roy Issa, Medjo Dolidor Dorian, and Koungou Edima.

Graduating soldiers take the oath to serve the nation of Cameroon before the national flag
Graduating soldiers take the oath to serve the nation of Cameroon before the national flag

“Indeed, my dream to become a BIR soldier, since I was young, has been realized today. I am ready to serve with all my determination,” Koungou Edima said.
“Today, I have succeeded and it’s a great joy for me and my family. I want to thank all the BIR hierarchy for my success,” Issa Mark-Roy said.