Yaoundé, Cameroon

February 25, 2008 – 5:00 p.m.

The following is a message from the American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé.

American citizens should strongly consider the risks of travel to and within Douala for the next twenty-four hours. Demonstrations sparked by a taxicab strike in many areas of Douala have resulted in roadblocks, looting and violent clashes with police that have resulted in fatalities. The same taxicab strike is being observed to varying degrees throughout the southern seven provinces of Cameroon resulting in roadblocks and attacks on suspected strike breakers. The Cameroonian government is reinforcing police in affected areas with additional units.

Due to the highly volatile and unpredictable conditions the U.S. Embassy advises Americans to avoid any travel between urban areas for the next twenty-four hours, and to use caution when traveling in your neighborhood.

American citizens throughout Cameroon are reminded to avoid large public gatherings or demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

 

This was an email forwarded to us by the PC country director. I of course didn’t get this until way later. They said they made some calls and texted everyone, but since I still don’t have a phone that didn’t help me either.

 

The part about staying away from large public gatherings was interesting since for the strike, I was in Bangante, not knowing what was going on. I was kicked out of the internet café I was attempting to use unto the street when hundreds of kids that were kicked out of school when they decided to close by mid morning, where rushing towards me with sticks beating stuff and shouting angrily. I stood looking at them, then walked to the side of the road, took a seat with the rest of the business owners near their stores and watched them march by towards the courthouse, tearing and beating at things as they passed. A few even stopped and said hi as they passed since they recognized me from when I was here for training.

 

 

Since everything was closed and the streets blocked, I was stuck in Bangante for two days. I stayed at the hotel since I didn’t want to stay at my host family’s house, although they would have more than welcome me. There were already 7 people there, and only three beds, so I didn’t want to inconvenience.

 

After the two days I ran out of money to pay for the hotel, so I started walking back to my village, a little over 20 kilometers away. I had gone about 4 or 5 kilometers when the Chief of Bamena, the town before reaching Bangou drove by in his Mercedes, recognized me and asked me if I needed a lift. He took me back to Bangou where I when home and slept until the next day.

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