CAMEROON RISK REPORT
Security travel advice for Cameroon
Threat level: Medium-High
The current travel safety advice for Cameroon is to be extra cautious due to the Islamist terror organisation Boko Haram’s active presence, particularly in the northern Cameroon province. Several western tourists have been kidnapped by Islamist extremists in 2014 and 2015 in Cameroon.
As well as the heightened terror threat, mugging and armed banditry is a big problem in all areas with the majority of cases are reported in Yaoundé, Douala, Ngouandere and Bafoussam. Travellers are advised to remain cautious at all times, especially in the mentioned areas.
Pick pocket groups commonly operate on trains, coaches and taxis which can prove to be quite different to what you might be used to. In cities, taxis operate more like buses, they pick up passengers as they go along your route, while there is still room in the car. They often take back roads and many taxi drivers don’t even have driving licences. Only use taxis if absolutely necessary.
All travel to Burundi is highly advised against due to the ongoing political tensions and terrorist activity in the country. You should contact your local Embassy or Foreign Office for more information.
Recent security risk events
Boko Haram has recently made threats to Cameroon of attacks similar to the Radisson hotel attacks in Mali in 2015 and ensures that there will be further kidnappings of western tourists and Cameroonian nationals. The country’s recent involvement in the regional fight in an effort to supress Boko Haram has subsequently made it a key target for attack. With this threat in mind, there is now a heightened risk of kidnap to western nationals in the north of Cameroon, including in the major cities. Take the right safety precautions to avoid risk.
Close and lock all doors and windows, particularly at night. Make sure that security measures are in place, it is advised to have an armed security detail. or if you are staying at a hotel that they have a well-trained security team. In homes burglar proof metal bars should be installed and callers should be identified through spy holes before opening doors, especially late at night.
There has been a recent increase of displaced of Nigeria-based extremists into the far north regions of Cameroon, this is thought to be due to the recently declared state of emergency in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno and Adamawa states. This increased presence of Nigerian originated extremists in the Northern Province had already been on the rise before the countries state of emergency, and the threat of kidnapping and armed banditry is even higher in these areas.
Cameroon and Canada have a well established diplomatic relationship. The country is also receiving much needed aid from The People’s Republic of China. Cameroon is currently in a violent armed conflict with Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula.
Officials have advised against all travel to within 40 km of the border with Chad due to the increase in armed banditry. Avoid all travel by road at night in all areas. The roads in Cameroon are in very poor condition and many are hard to travel on without a four wheel drive vehicle.
Official languages: French and English
Religion: Christianity and Islam
Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF)
All visitors are required to obtain a travel visa before entering Cameroon. Passports must be valid for a further six months from the date of the visa. As of May 5, 2014, people of all ages staying in Cameroon for longer than four weeks may be required to show proof of polio vaccination when departing Cameroon. Polio vaccine must be received between four weeks and 12 months before the date of departure from Cameroon and should be officially documented on a yellow vaccination card.
It is advised that visitors to Cameroon are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider Polio vaccination; there have been cases reported in Cameroon as recently as 2014. Leaving the country after a prolonged period of time in the country may require you to present a polio vaccine certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure or plan to stay for over four weeks in Cameroon.
Other health risks
Medical facilities in Cameroon are poor. Emergency facilities are extremely limited and for serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to the UK or South Africa will be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
The United Nations has advised that there may be a prolonged and expanding circulation of polio in Cameroon and local region. Make sure you are adequately vaccinated.
There is a high risk of malaria in Cameroon so sensible precautions should be taken against being bitten by mosquitoes such as using mosquito nets at night time and ensuring you have enough anti-malarial medication for the duration of your trip.
U.S. Embassy Yaounde
Avenue Rosa Parks,
P.O. Box 817,
Telephone: +237 222 220 1500
British Commission Yaounde
Avenue Winston Churchill,
Telephone: +237 222 22 0796