Yaounde: Around 200 soldiers from Cameroon marched through the streets of the capital on Wednesday to demand eight months of back pay for their service with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic.
It is the first time the soldiers, who form part of the 1,260 Cameroonian contingent with the U.N. mission (MINUSCA), have demonstrated and the government deployed heavily armed troops to block off streets and impede their passage.
Cameroon`s longtime ruler President Paul Biya has assured the troops that they would be paid on Thursday arrears amounting to 6 billion CFA francs ($10.2 million), Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary later told a news conference.
Money for the salaries is supposed to be provided by the United Nations and the African Union under an agreement.
African leaders take seriously the financial demands of soldiers on a continent that over the decades has seen a series of coups and attempted coups by disgruntled troops.
MINUSCA aims to restore peace to Cameroon`s neighbour, the Central African Republic, which has been divided by inter-communal and inter-religious violence since at least 2013 in a conflict in which thousands have died.