A total of 40 persons are now officially known to have been killed and several others wounded during violent protests that hit several major towns in five provinces of Cameroon from 25th through 29th February 2008.
This was revealed at a press briefing in Yaounde yesterday by the Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
Addressing journalists in the conference room of his ministry in the presence of the Minister of Communication, Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Esam, Mr Marafa Hamidou Yaya recalled that for five days running, groups of individuals made up mainly of youths, carried out violent protests in some towns of the country in "execution of a diabolic plan orchestrated" by certain individuals in hiding.
He said 31 towns were affected by these acts of vandalism in five of the ten provinces of Cameroon namely, Centre, Littoral, West, North West and South West Provinces causing casualties among civilian and security forces.
The Minister said material damage is estimated at tens of billions of francs CFA including government offices which were burnt down, vandalized or looted. He gave an exhaustive account of government, security, council and private property destroyed by the protesters. In effect, 33 fuel stations were partially or completely destroyed as well as private vehicles, beer depots, pharmacies, bakeries, kiosks and industrial complexes.
Mr Marafa regretted that not only has the national economy suffered a serious setback, the good image of the nation has also been tarnished.
Yesterday's press briefing was the third outing by members of government since the occurrence of the crisis that brought unprecedented insecurity to a country reputed for peace and stability. As Mr Marafa noted, it was necessary for such communication in order to up date the situation as calm has since been restored throughout the national territory.