Relief News

Cameroon Travel Warning

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August 06, 2014
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high risk of travel to Cameroon and cautions U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Far North region of the country.This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated May 6, 2014 and updates information on the continuing threat of kidnappings and other armed attacks in the Far North region of Cameroon.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high risk of travel to Cameroon and cautions U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Far North region of the country. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated May 6, 2014 and updates information on the continuing threat of kidnappings and other armed attacks in the Far North region of Cameroon.

The terrorist group Boko Haram is active in the Far North, and has actively targeted foreign expatriates resident in Cameroon, tourists, and government leaders. On July 25, 2014, more than 200 suspected Boko Haram operatives conducted a coordinated attack on two compounds in Kolofata. The wife of the Vice Prime Minister of Cameroon and several others were kidnapped from the Vice PM's residential compound, while Kolofata's mayor and religious leader and several others were kidnapped from the mayor's residence. Several civilians were killed in this coordinated operation. Twenty-one expatriates have been kidnapped since 2013.

The most recent kidnapping of expatriates occurred May 16, 2014 from a site near the town of Waza, 12 miles from the Nigerian border. Also, on April 4, 2014, attackers kidnapped two Italian priests and a Canadian nun during the night from their residences in Tchere, near the city of Maroua, located approximately 60 kilometers from the Nigerian border. A French priest was kidnapped from the town of Nguetchewe in November 2013, and a French family of seven (three adults and four children) was kidnapped while travelling near Waza National Park in February 2013. Boko Haram and an affiliated group, Ansaru, were responsible for the kidnappings of the French victims, and are believed to be responsible for the latest kidnappings in April 2014.

Boko Haram's leaders have stated and demonstrated through their actions over the past year that they are actively seeking to kidnap "Westerners" and U.S. citizens travelling to or living in the Far North and North regions of Cameroon. In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Several large weapons caches attributed to Boko Haram were discovered in Cameroon and confiscated by authorities in 2013 and 2014, signaling the active presence of the group and pointing to the likelihood of additional attacks. All areas in the Far North region of Cameroon are affected by this warning.

The U.S. Embassy also continues to urge extreme caution when travelling in the North and Adamaoua regions of Cameroon, especially within areas 100 kilometers of Cameroon's border with Adamaoua state, Nigeria, and north of Ngaoundere in the Adamaoua region of Cameroon.

The U.S. Embassy continues to maintain restrictions on travel by U.S. officials to the North and Far North regions of Cameroon, as well as any travel north of Ngaoundere in the Adamaoua region. U.S. officials are permitted to travel to these areas only if the travel is deemed mission-essential. All officials proposing such travel must receive advance clearance by the U.S. Embassy.

Travel Warnings are in place for countries bordering Cameroon on the west, north, and east: Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic. The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to consult travel warnings for these countries as well when considering travel in areas of Cameroon bordering these countries, as violence and banditry in border areas can quickly spill over into Cameroon. In March 2013, the Seleka rebel group overthrew the government of the Central African Republic in violent clashes with the CAR military and foreign troops. Despite an on-going peace process and the creation of a transitional government, the security situation remains highly unstable. The U.S. Embassy in Bangui, CAR suspended operations on December 28, 2012. Violence in CAR spilled over into the Adamaoua and East regions of Cameroon in isolated incidents over the past year.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Cameroon enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, (including the Travel Warning for Cameroon, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Cameroon. For additional information, refer to the Traveler's Checklist on the State Department's website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé is located at Avenue Rosa Parks close to the Mont Febe Golf Club. The telephone number is +237 2220-1500 ext. 4341/4023. The number for after-hours emergencies is +237 2220-1500 ext. 4531. The fax number is +237 2220-1572. The Embassy's e-mail address is mailto:yaoundeacs@state.gov.

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