*By Saron Obia, security expert
Sport is a national and international strategy for conflict resolution, peace-building, which is also used by some political leaders to promote certain cultures and ideas. Examples are; the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy was used by Benito Mussolini to showcase Fascist Italy (Kuhn & Gabriel, 2011; Blamires & Cyprian, 2006) and the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin and the 1936 Winter Olympics held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen were exploited by Adolf Hitler to promote the Nazi ideology, based on racial segregation (Blamires & Cyprian, 2006; Saxena & Anurag, 2001). African Nations Championship to be held in Cameroon in 2021, will expose cultural diversity of the country, usually considered Africa in miniature.
The globalization period changed the dynamics of security, following the interplay between the state, terrorist groups, and social misconduct of some citizens. African Nations Championship, also known as the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) was created in 2009 by Confederation of African Football (CAF) to promote African soccer. Hosting such tournament will require adequate security protocols and rules for the security of various teams, tourists, fans and even organizing committee. An example is the reconfiguration of state institutions against ‘internal enemies’ which led to punitive sentencing and new laws in the domain of football, such as the; Football Offences Act 1991, and the Football Disorder Act 2000 by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s in the UK.
Moreover, special policing methods were adopted, such as National Football Intelligence Unit’ and other units investigating serious organized crime; bio-technological, through new security technologies and architectures to discipline and control inside stadiums within the National Criminal Intelligence Service.
Drawing from security strategy implemented in Russia and United Kingdom for sporting events, and the security challenges encountered by France during a football match at Stade de Paris in the presence of French President Hollande, its necessary for Cameroon to step up her security in regards to the January 2021 tournament. The Stade de Paris was hit with three explosions detonated at 9.20 pm, 9.30 pm and 9.53 pm local time during a friendly football match between Germany and France. This incident appeals for necessary policing methods for Cameroon CHAN 2021. Below are some policing methods in relation to the growing sociopolitical tension in Cameroon.
Policing attacks or criminal incident on building and sporting events in particular is sometimes challenging. Evacuation spectators, authorities and journalists during an incident might be tedious, as some are usually submerged by panic. Some engineers might claim that evacuation can be done in minutes out of a stadium, but this narrative is not usually supported by some psychologists and criminologists, who consider fear or panic, as a challenging factor, which can lead to a stamped. The incident in Paris expose the necessity for security system of sporting avenues to be control by counter terrorism agency in collaboration with special unit of operation to avoid terrorist technocrats (hackers, computer programmers and network analyst) to breach protocols, in order to carry out assault. More so, system of communication in case of any suspicious event must be will coordinated as well as standby evacuation vehicles be ready and health centers.
Use of Biometric Fan ID and Advance Metal Detectors
Security dynamics changes each second, and identification is a major aspect for public and private policing. During the World Cup in Russian security services for vetting purpose, spectators were given FAN-IDs, as a sort of identification system, in order to profile individuals around competition zone and for any eventual incident. Stadiums hosting matches need to be equipped with high-tech security systems, including super-sensitive metal detectors at all steel-gated entry checkpoints and not handheld scanners which can draw the population closer to a terrorist (as terrorist usually cause problems in order to draw population and security officers before detonating a bomb). Bomb-sniffing dogs, and bags must be passed through airport-style X-ray machines for those entering the country. Also “Electronic warfare assets” are necessary for the protection of stadiums from hostile drones (Bastille Frequency Cannons, Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA is badass, SkyWall 100, ELI-4030 Drone Guard, DroneDefender, HELMD, ETC).
CCTV Cameras and Facial Recognition
Cameroon is equipped with CCTV cameras, but the emergence of cyber criminality in the country appeals for re-enforcement of security protocols. Hacking is another major threat in Cameroon, as most software used by institutions are 90% vulnerable. It’s necessary for facial recognition technology with cross-matched with images of criminals and voice recapture from across government databases and social media, be installed across all CCTV cameras and be connected to security database.
In Cameroon, private policing is increasingly gaining grounds. In order to secure the 2021 CHAN in Cameroon, the government can cooperate with private security firms after training them on various communication patterns in case of suspicious remarks and surveillance during the tournament. The present situation in some parts of the country (particularly the two English speaking regions), is necessary to identify and recognize the grievances posed, in order for an intelligence agency to better analyze the tenacity and the policing approach to be implemented in such zones. Transportation networks between cities, buses, aircraft, and shopping malls should equally be strengthened in threat areas, through the implementation of rigorous anti-terror measures during the tournament.