Safety and Security
If you are living in or visiting Cameroon, you are encouraged to stay abreast of local political and social developments that could signal instability for the country. Elections for the newly created Senate occurred in April without incident. Legislative and municipal elections are expected to take place on September 30, 2013. You should remain alert as these elections approach.
Embassy employees have been instructed to refrain from travel outside of city limits after dark, and to be cautious in their movements in centrally located areas within cities and towns. You should follow the same guidelines and not travel by night on Cameroon’s dangerous highways. Armed highway bandits (most notably in border areas); poorly lit and maintained roads; hazardous, poorly maintained vehicles; and unskilled, aggressive, and intoxicated drivers all pose threats to motorists. Attacks and accidents are most common outside major towns, especially in the regions bordering Chad and the Central African Republic, but occur in all areas of the country.
The U.S. Embassy recommends against travel to the Far North Region, which includes the city of Maroua. In February 2013, Nigerian terrorists affiliated with Boko Haram kidnapped a French family travelling from Waza National Park in Cameroon and took them from Cameroon into Nigeria. The French family was released after being held captive for two months, but the situation remains tenuous, and there is a continuing concern that expatriates could be targeted in the Far North Region. The U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on travel by U.S. officials to the Far North of Cameroon; all U.S. officials must receive advance clearance from the U.S. Embassy to travel to the Far North, including the city of Maroua.
While we alert U.S. citizens against all travel to the Far North of Cameroon, we also urge extreme caution when travelling in the North region of Cameroon, especially in areas which border Nigeria. On May 14, 2013, Nigeria proclaimed a state of emergency in the states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe (Adamawa and Borno states in Nigeria share borders with the North and Far North regions of Cameroon). The Nigerian military has stepped up military operations against Boko Haram in these states. This could adversely affect security in neighboring regions of Cameroon should terrorists cross into Cameroon to avoid Nigerian military operations.
The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to neighboring Central African Republic (CAR), and the U.S. Embassy in Bangui remains closed until further notice. On occasion, conflict in CAR has spilled across the border into Cameroon, affecting outposts in the Adamaoua and East Regions. Humanitarian and religious workers in eastern Cameroon are strongly encouraged to coordinate their efforts with the Embassy and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yaoundé.
If you are in Cameroon and considering crossing into Chad, you should review the U.S. Department of State's Travel Warning for Chad given past security concerns in the border region with Cameroon.
Cameroon assumed control of the Bakassi peninsula in August 2008. While there have been no reported attacks by armed groups on Cameroonian military forces in the last five years, Cameroon's military authorities restrict access to the Bakassi Peninsula. U.S. official travelers must receive prior approval from Embassy authorities to travel to this area. U.S. employees are not permitted to make personal travel to the region.
Armed robbery at sea and piracy in coastal areas remains a threat. While mostly occurring at sea, criminal groups have also conducted armed raids against lucrative coastal targets including banks. Heightened security measures by the government begun in 2009 have reduced the number of attacks. If you are caught in such an attack, you should comply immediately with any demands made by the aggressors and avoid any action that could be interpreted as an attempt to escape.