The US Department of State has issued a warning about travel to Cameroon. The full text of the warning is reprinted below.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high risk of traveling to Cameroon, and urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the North and Far North Regions of the country because of the general threat of violent crime, terrorism, and the targeting of westerners for murder and kidnappings, particularly by the extremist terrorist group Boko Haram. There is a growing threat in the East Region, where former Seleka and criminal elements from the Central African Republic (CAR) occasionally cross the border into Cameroon to steal property and take hostages for ransom. Because of the security situation in the country, the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in remote and rural areas is extremely limited. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on September 30, 2015 to emphasize the increasing criminal threat in the eastern part of the Adamawa Region.
The Boko Haram terrorist group is active in the Far North Region, and has actively targeted foreign residents, tourists, and government leaders, which may place U.S. citizens traveling to or living in the Far North and North Regions of Cameroon at risk. Twenty one foreigners have been reported kidnapped since 2013. Since July 2015, the group has carried out at least 14 suicide bombings in the North and Far North Regions, including the city of Maroua. The U.S. Embassy continues to maintain restrictions on travel by U.S. official personnel to the North, Far North, and East Regions of Cameroon, as well as any travel north of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region. Due to increased criminal activity, the Embassy has now implemented a similar travel restriction east of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution when traveling within 60 miles/100 kilometers of the border with Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the North and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon, the border area with Chad, and the border areas with CAR. Violence, banditry, and military operations in border areas can quickly spill over into Cameroon. Note there are Travel Warnings for neighboring Nigeria, Chad, and CAR. Additionally, the threat of piracy is present in the waters of the Bakassi peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea.
Criminal activity continues to be a major concern, particularly in Yaounde, Douala, and other towns. Burglaries, armed robberies, theft by intimidation, and snatch-and-grab crimes are commonplace in these areas. High unemployment and an under-equipped police force exacerbate the situation. An influx of refugees fleeing conflict in CAR and Nigeria has strained Cameroon’s economy and added population to already crowded urban areas. Road banditry, especially along the eastern border with CAR, is reported periodically.
For further information:
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.