George Esunge Fominyen
Rather unusual occurrences have been replete in Cameroon in 2008. The most recent is this reported bomb scare on an Air France flight on the night of Monday 22 to Tuesday 23 at the Douala International Airport.
According to Mutations daily of 24 December 2008, it was at about midnight while all passengers were already aboard that an anonymous caller claimed that there was a bomb that would explode if the aircraft attempted to take-off.
For security reasons therefore, all the passengers were ferried out of the plane. All the luggage was off-loaded from the baggage hold and checked. The plane itself was cross-checked, a source told Mutations.
The incident that reportedly caused local authorities (Governor of Littoral, SDO of Wouri, Regional delegate for National Security) to rush to the Airport was finally declared a false alert. The passengers were encouraged to board the flight which left at about 0400 (Cameroon time) on 23 December 2008.
All of this information reported by Mutations came from some workers at the airport. Unfortunately no senior airport,security or local authority could confirm or deny the information (as is often the case in Cameroon). The Regional delegate for national security for the Littoral even told the Mutations reporter that he went to airport simply because a friend of his was arriving from Indonesia!
("Approché par Mutations, Joachim Mbida Nkili, le Délégué régional de la Sûreté nationale pour le Littoral confirme avoir fait le déplacement pour l'aéroport dans la nuit de lundi dernier. " Mais c'était pour recevoir un ami qui revenait de l'Indonésie")
The newspaper, however claims to have a source who suggests that the false alert was the handiwork of a SCB-Credit Agricoles Bank employee who had wanted to stop their Director General from leaving the country at a time of uncertainty. A Moroccan bank has just taken over SCB-Credit Agricole and the workers are in a state of limbo about their situation.
("une source à la Scb Crédit Agricole croit savoir que " c'est certainement un employé de la banque qui a téléphoné pour empêcher que le Directeur général, Francis Dubut, ne voyage hier nuit. Les employés de cette banque étaient au courant du voyage de leur directeur général, coupable à leurs yeux de vouloir quitter définitivement le pays alors que la situation du rachat de la banque par un groupe marocain n'était pas encore bouclée.")
Now if that were to turn out as true...!
Anyway, what aggrieves me in the whole issue is this cloak around information in Cameroon. When really serious things happen, officials disappear and there is no real public communication. It is plain stupid! What is best, to brief people on a situation or to set the rumour-machinery at work? Nobody ever wants to comment. They are all waiting for their superior, who is waiting for his superior, who is waiting for his "hierarchie" and the thing continues to nothing...
When are we ever going to learn that there is always a way to tell something - no matter how delicate. If we can tell our brothers and sisters that our parents are dead - what could be harder to understand?