On the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, a viral video has circulated showing Cameroonian military burning down homes of villagers in the south western village of Munyenge. A soldier with a blue helmet was spotted among those who carried out the act.
The minority voice journalist at the UN Matthew Russell Lee On April 30 asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric on April 30, 2018
“Inner City Press: a video emerged over the weekend from Cameroon showing soldiers burning people’s homes in the Anglophone areas, what a lot of people focused on is that one of them, at least, is wearing a blue helmet.
I don’t think it means the UN is doing it, but I do wonder, what are the rules? If people have served in UN peacekeeping missions?” (Edited)
Spokesman: “I haven’t seen that particular video, so I can’t comment on the particular helmet, whether it was just blue or a UN helmet.
We have seen, in different parts of the world, various security forces and army… we’ve seen reports of them using equipment that they own, which had been painted white or blue and reused domestically.
It is a responsibility to ensure that no equipment that has UN markings is ever used in any domestic operation…” Inner City Press
That was that for the news, now analysis!
Domestic operations according to the UN spokesman refers to a case of the army maintaining national security during an uprising, ethnic conflict or even civil war when the UN has not yet sent its peacekeeping forces.
What does a UN blue helmet signify during an operation?
The UN military symbol handbook states that: “All tactical symbols relating to United Nations peacekeeping forces, their dispositions, equipment, movements, and intentions shall be marked in the blue color. The belligerent forces, their dispositions, equipment, movements and intentions shall be marked in red or green or purple, depending on the number of the parties involved”.
Belligerent forces here refers to one or two entities being engaged in a war. Whereby, the one or both parties to a conflict invokes the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter or under a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
Note that if there is a conflict between a rebellion and a sovereign state being recognized by the United Nations, such a rebellion is not considered a belligerent but an Insurgency. Example; Boko Haram against the state of Cameroon, Nigeria, and Chad.
Once the status of belligerency is established between two or more entities, their relations are determined and governed by the laws of war.
From the UN Secretary General spokesman’s voice, a national force reusing the equipment of the UN military in domestic operations is bridging the principles of UN Peacekeeping.
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