17 November 2017

Cameroon: Fire Ravages Cameroon Parliament

A fire destroyed the administration and finance offices of the main building of Cameroon's parliament overnight in Yaoundé, officials said on Friday.

The senior vice president of the National Assembly Hilarion Etong said nothing was recovered from his office.

"My office on the fourth floor is all burned. I have lost everything, I am sad," he said.

The damage is said to have been caused by an accidental fire. No casualties were reported, the Red Cross said.

The office of the main opposition party, Social Democratic Front (SDF), also located on the fourth floor was razed down.

"The documented life of the SDF for 22 years here at the national assembly is gone. All the documentation in paper and electronic form, all computers are burned," said the leader Joseph Banadzem.

The fifth and sixth floors hosting budget and administration offices were also completely destroyed.

The fire swept through at least four floors of the main building known as the Ngoa Ekelle Glass Palace before it was contained.

According to the Communication Minister and government spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the fire started in one of the offices on the fourth floor of the 7-storey building before 10pm Thursday.

It took a 60-man firefighting team, led by Kadrey Abdiel, six hours to contain the flames from spreading to debating chambers.

Parliament had resumed its sittings on Tuesday for its last and third session of 2017 dedicated to the scrutiny and adoption the 2018 national budget.

Sessions have now been suspended to Monday next week, a parliamentary official Gregoire Owona said.

Cameroon plans to construct a new $15 million building for its Parliament. The construction will be financed through a grant from China. The two government signed the agreement on September 22 this year.

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