40 people killed in Cameroon clashes

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40 people were killed in the violent demonstrations that took place in Cameroon last February, according to a Cameroonian minister of state, Marafa Hamidou Yaya.

The clashes were sparked by a strike organised by the urban transport union, who were asking for lower petroleum prices as well as better working conditions.

Major cities were quickly crippled by demonstrations which saw young people seizing the opportunity to voice out their discontentment, during which acts of vandalism including looting and destruction of public property, continued for four days.

Douala, the economic capital, suffered the most human loss. 20 people were killed when security forces (police and gendarme as well as the military) opened fire on demonstrators.

The government did not give a detailed economic value of losses incurred besides a statement confirming the loss of tens of billions of franc CFA’s
The minister also blamed the other political parties for being the cause of the clashes, without giving any names.

Meanwhile, a member of the opposition party “Social démocratic front” (SDF) was arrested at the airport on his way to Europe.

The Cameroonian government accuses him of being the brain behind a demonstration which was cancelled on Sautrday, but was the starting point of the first violent demonstrations, two days before the transport strike on February 25.

About 1.700 people were arrested after the demonstration out of which many have already been charged with fines and prison terms.

Last Friday, President Paul Biya, accorded a 15 per cent salary raise to civil servants. And besides the slight decrease of petroleum prices, the government is looking at the possibility of reducing prices of daily basic necessities.

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