Saturday, March 21, 2020

Disturbing testimony of a Cameroonian stranded in Kenya

It is Saturday March 21, 2020, it is 5 o'clock in the morning in Nairobi in Kenya, or 2 less happy in Cameroon.

At the start of this other day, around a hundred Cameroonians continue their descent into hell in the international zone of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Some are lying on the ground, others are lying on the reception seats of this vast airport. These Cameroonians who have suffered martyrdom for several days have been abandoned there by the Cameroonian government, which has prohibited them from returning to their homes in Cameroon. 

On Tuesday, March 17, most of these unfortunates were leaving for Cameroon and were in transit at this airport when the sudden decision to close the borders surprised them. Kenya Airways simply told them that the Cameroonian government refused to allow Cameroonian nationals who are still outside Cameroon to return to their countries. Even those who reside permanently in Cameroon. Because, they say, they must not come and spread the corona virus in Cameroon. 

Encapsulated in this airport, where you only breathe compressed air, they are prohibited from leaving. Thus without reference and without resources, these Cameroonians managed to obtain the telephone number of the Cameroonian consul in Kenya. Unfortunately the consul refused to answer the phone. The employee of Kenya Airways who serves as an interlocutor between the company and the unfortunate Cameroonians, will tell the latter not to hesitate to call the consul, because he says, as well the Cameroonian authorities as the consul and even the Embassy of Cameroon in Adis Ababa, have been informed and know exactly what has happened to Cameroonians at Nairobi airport. 

Finally, on March 19, Kenya Airways told the Cameroonians that the Cameroonian authorities had finally agreed that they should return home. They will therefore be taken on board an aircraft for Douala via Bangui in CAR. Unfortunately they will never arrive in Douala, because between Bangui and Douala, they will be informed that Cameroon has again refused to allow the plane which transports them to land in Douala. This is how they will return to continue their torments in Nairobi. 

To calm the anger of its unfortunate Cameroonians, we gather them from time to time in the airport hall to tell them to check in, because the departure is imminent, we even give them access cards on board, and afterwards, nothing. We wonder how long this scenario will last.

We always wonder how does Cameroon manage to abandon a hundred of its nationals in an airport, without any assistance? Cameroon is not the only country that has closed its borders. Several countries have also done so, but have admitted that all their relatives who were in transit at airports are returning to the country. Only Cameroon was the exception and chose to repel its nationals in transit at airports. So at Nairobi airport, only Cameroonians are in this situation. 

In this hell of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, living conditions are more than abysmal. Everything is sold at gold prices and in dollars. 300 ml of water costs 5 dollars. Cameroonians fought for a small 500 ml bottle of water which was given to them out of pity by a Kenya Airways agent. The cheapest meal costs $ 20. Since we have been wearing the same clothes for 5 days, to change you have to buy little knitwear that sells for 30 dollars a piece. Ladies for their menses buy feminine protection for $ 40, or use airport toilet paper. Imagine how people who were only in transit and who did not plan to spend money at this airport do. 

It is in this very closed environment, where we only breathe air conditioning, that these Cameroonian exiles live, without masks, gloves and without any other form of protection and who rub shoulders with people of other nationalities on a daily basis. from all over the world and passing through this airport, some masked and others not. It will therefore not be surprising that Cameroonians who, upon their arrival at this airport five days ago and who did not suffer from any illness, are contaminated by the corona virus. It will be the fault of the Cameroonian government which forced them to live in these highly contaminated places. 

Some have asked for help from their families in Cameroon, but there is no way to receive money, because there is no money transfer company in the international zone inside the country. airport. 

Thus begins this new day of Saturday, March 21, 2020, which will continue and end certainly like the others with its share of stress and anger. Let us only hope that no one has a crisis requiring the intervention of a doctor. It would be the height of our misfortunes.