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Cameroon: Douala residents lose homes to demolition

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Violence

A riot took place near Cameroon's Douala International Airport on Saturday. The Police charged at a group of young people protesting the demolition of their homes and a mosque. They succeeded finally in dispersing them with tear gas.

Yassu Anne, an inhabitant of the airport area has lived here for 37 years. She admits to losing everything.

"We came today to protest this because the airport was said to be dirty. They stold us they're going to fix the airport, hence the operation. But they come to demolish without warning. They come one morning to surprise us. I mean, surprise us and our children. My things are buried there.... you can't die for your possessions, my things are over there, the pots all buried" Anne lamented.

The "cleareance operation" residents say, started at around 5 am. The authoriities say it is to ensure the rights of way for Douala International Airport.

Koulanya Doko is another resident of the airport area affected by the demolitions.

"It's not a hundred people that you see, They are thousands. And the people have been there for more than 30 years. Like me, I have lived here for 32 years. I have big children. Where will they go? But for me this way is not right. They should first come and mark the houses".

The violence has been followed by arrests, but it hasn't undermined the ongoing process. But the operation is not over yet. The authorities have warned that the operations of breaking up and freeing the airport will continue in the coming days.

Africanews correspondent Joel Kouam reports that in light of the affected persons reality, some families have left the area while others continue to stay on, in an effort to save what they can, while they can.