Archive for Cameroon
The Chinese Embassy in Cameroon has confirmed that one Chinese national was wounded and ten others are still missing after unidentified armed gunmen attacked a camp belonging to the Chinese company Sinohydro. Doctors say the worker, wounded by gunshot, is now out of danger. The camp is located near the Waza park in the far north region of Cameroon. The company is working on a road improvement project near Cameroon-Nigeria border. Some 50 workers were at the camp during the two-hour attack. The gunmen also took 10 company vehicles. The Chinese Embassy has launched an emergency response mechanism, and urged the Cameroonian authorities to take measures to ensure the safety of Chinese workers. Cameroonian officials have condemned the attack, and promised to spare no efforts in finding the missing workers.
Cameroon will open its first diplomatic mission in Turkey shortly, Turkey’s Cameroon Ambassador Omer Faruk Dogan said. Ambassador Dogan met with President of Cameroon Paul Biya and debated the new cooperation areas between Turkey and Cameroon. “Turkey wants to provide support to Cameroon in electricity, oil, infrastructure and social development areas,” stressed Turkey’s Cameroon ambassador.
Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch had time to alert the French embassy before he was kidnapped by militants in Cameroon, church officials said, as a local governor said Vandenbeusch may have been targeted for helping Nigerians fleeing attacks by Boko Haram into Cameroon. Some 15 gunmen stormed into the parish church in Nguetchewe, 10 kms (6 miles) from the Nigerian border, to demand money late on Wednesday, Monseigneur Gérard Daucourt, the bishop in Paris responsible for the priest, told a news conference Thursday. Vandenbeusch, 42, had time to alert the French embassy by phone before the gunmen burst into his private room. His abductors then marched him barefoot across the village before fleeing on motorbikes.
A spokeswoman at the French embassy in Cameroon confirmed there had been a kidnapping in the north of the country on Tuesday. “All I can say is that there has been a kidnapping,” she said. “I cannot confirm the numbers for now.” RFI radio earlier reported armed gunmen had taken seven French citizens and were heading to Nigeria. She declined to say whether they were all French nationals.
The government of Cameroon is illegally squatting in its embassy property in the nation’s capital and should be evicted by federal marshals, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. Harvard University, which owns the property, wants a federal judge to order the U.S. Marshals Service to remove the African nation’s embassy after nearly two years there. The lease ended a week ago, but Cameroon’s embassy has yet to leave and “has not provided any indication of when it will vacate,” court documents say. The embassy’s website still lists the disputed property as its address. Cameroon has a “permanent mission headquarters” elsewhere along a stretch dubbed “Embassy Row” in Washington. But in 2009, the government decided to renovate that space, leaving them in need of another property to house the embassy while renovations were underway. They ultimately signed a lease for those temporary quarters, with the lease term ending Jan. 31, 2012. Several months ago, Harvard officials “learned that the Embassy’s renovations were taking longer than expected and that (the) Embassy might be unable to return to the (permanent property) by the end of January 2012,” the lawsuit says. More than a month before the lease was to end, Harvard told the embassy it “would be willing to consider a limited three-month extension” and offered a proposal, but Harvard “did not receive any substantive communication from the Embassy regarding” the offer, according to the lawsuit. “Because the Embassy has improperly held over after the end of the Lease Term, (Harvard) is entitled to a judgment for possession of the Premises,” the lawsuit reads. While embassy personnel might have diplomatic immunity from such legal action, the Cameroon embassy waived any such privilege as part of its lease, Harvard lawyers say. A U.S. Marshals Service spokesman said his agency would follow orders from the court. A State Department official, meanwhile, declined comment, saying the department needs “a chance to review the situation.”
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan apologized to the nation for allegations of a stock-rigging scandal involving diplomats, after prosecutors raided his ministry in a widening probe over the accusations. “I sincerely apologize to our people for letting this sort of thing happen,” Kim said. “I hang my head in shame,” a stern-faced Kim said, adding he will “take responsibility for anything I must be held accountable for.” The ministry has been rocked by the scandal linked to CNK International, a local company developing a diamond mine in Cameroon, after state auditors last week asked it to sack a senior diplomat for playing a role in releasing a fallacious official press statement in December 2010. The statement said that Cameroon authorized CNK to develop a diamond mine in the African country and the mine was estimated to have 420 million carats, more than twice the global diamond production. After the ministry’s statement was issued, shares of CNK jumped more than five-fold in 16 trading days. State auditors found that brothers and associates of the senior diplomat, Ambassador Kim Eun-seok, who is in charge of energy and resources, pocketed financial gains by investing their money into CNK shares during the period. According to audit results, the senior diplomat had learned that the estimated volume of diamonds was exaggerated, prior to the issuance of the press release. The ambassador Kim has insisted on his innocence. Early on Monday, prosecutors seized computer hard disks and documents at the offices of Ambassador Kim and public relations officials, marking the first time that the ministry has been subject to a search by prosecutors.
Relatives of a senior Foreign Ministry official allegedly bought stocks of a Korean firm before the ministry announced in 2010 that it had won a lucrative right to develop a diamond mine in Cameroon, according to news reports. Kim Eun-seok, a senior diplomat in charge of energy and resource diplomacy, led the work to make the press release on the successful bid. The stock price of the firm, C&K Mining, jumped fivefold within 17 days of the ministry’s announcement on Dec.17. Kim’s brother and the brother’s wife allegedly purchased stocks worth more than 100 million won ($87,000), spawning speculation that they might have acted on insider tips. His other relatives are also purported to have bought some stocks of the firm. The Board of Audit and Inspection is currently finalizing the result of its audit concerning the allegations. It launched its inquiry after opposition parties asked it to investigate the allegations last September. A Foreign Ministry official said the ministry is waiting for the audit result. “It is expected to come out by the end of this month,” the official said on condition of anonymity. On Dec. 16, 2010, the African state offered the right to C&K Mining to develop a diamond mine in Yokadouma in southeastern Cameroon. Because of the potential economic benefits to Korea, Seoul government officials had helped the firm win the right. One day later, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry issued the press release, in which it said the estimated amounts of diamonds in the mine is 420 million carats. Some skeptics have doubted the estimated volume, arguing that it appears to be based on insufficient research. Seventeen days after the announcement, the stock price, which stood at 3,400 won per share, had risen to 18,000 won. As the stock price soared, some alleged it was a stock manipulation case involving government officials advertising the firm’s successful bid. Former minister for the Prime Minister’s Office Cho Joong-pyo and his family members also are reported to have purchased 260,000 newly-issued shares of C&K Mining ahead of the announcement on the successful bid. They are said to have gained more than 1 billion won in trading profits.