CAMEROON: Update on the Civil unrest - 29.02.08

FRIDAY 29.02.08 - morning

Apparently, the situation is now progressively going back to normal this morning. Traffic has now been restored almost everywhere in town and most stores have reopened.

So have the offices of CAMEROON P&I and you can now reach us again as usual.

THURSDAY 28.02.08

Yesterday evening, President BIYA intervened on TV, asking the protestors to settle down and advising that peace and order will be maintained, by force if needed.

The situation in the city of Douala varies from one district to another. The Village district is the one where the protestors are still the most active. In some districts such as Nyalla and Akwa peace has come back but people are still staying at home waiting for the situation to stabilize. In other districts such as Ndogpassi few stores have started reopening and people walking in the streets, but very few cars are seen circulating and the Police fires warning shots every time they see a gathering of any kind.

Barricades are being progressively lifted by the Police all around town but there still hardly is any traffic.

The Port is still running slowly but without any particular problem reported.

Basically, the general situation is now of apparent calm, but there are still some underlying tensions and everyone is now waiting to see how it will evolve in the coming days.

TUESDAY 26.02.08:

After a very rough night (repeated pilferages against stores - mostly asians - and fights between mobs of youngsters and the police), the calm has apparently come back on the town.

Barricades are still in place, all stores & banks are still closed and security has been increased around public / official buildings. It is still impossible to circulate around town. Some acts of pilferage are still going on randomly around town.

The Port is still open but no operation is taking place.

A public announcement has been made late today by the Government granting a slight reduction in the price of gasoline, as requested by the demonstrators.

MONDAY 25.02.08:

Despite signs of return to calm yesterday, tensions have appeared again this morning, when a general strike was launched throughout the country by all taxi drivers (cabs and motorbikes) led by the Cameroon Transport Unions, this time to complain about the latest increase in gasoline prices. Further demonstrations have taken place during the day, and fights between protestors and the Police in the Douala district of Bonaberi were reported having caused two more deaths.

Barricades have been set on the cities main streets and all traffic is blocked. The few people who attempted to reach their workplaces this morning quickly turned back home, fearing from the protestors holding the barricades.

Riots and pilferages have taken place in various points of town.

The Port of Douala has remained open although all operations were stopped quite quickly on this morning. A higher filtering of entries and securing of Port premises have been set but no instruction have been given to vessels operating to leave berth for anchorage.

SATURDAY 23.02.08:

First tensions appeared on Saturday – 23.02.08 – further to the announcement made by the President to have the constitution reviewed for him to be allowed to be re-elected again (he has been in place for the past 25 years). Two people were killed by the Police during a protest led by the opposition.

Best regards