Several families living around the Airport in Douala are now looking for where to relocate after their houses were demolished last weekend during an operation aimed at expanding the Douala International Airport.
The demolition exercise supervised by the Assistant Senior Divisional Officer of the Wouri, Hector Fame, started in the early hours of Saturday, January 9 with engines crushing down houses that had been erected on public land where the airport is supposed to be expanded.
Some of the residents who watched helplessly as their houses were being brought down said they have been living in the area for the past ten years and hoped for a warning or quit notice which could have given them enough time to relocate.
“The administrative authority, in concertation with the technical services, carried out the demolition as it should and in accordance with the law. Warnings to evacuate the area were made beforehand by the Divisional Officer of Douala II who was there personally and with the forces of law and order, including the gendarmerie and the police force,” the Assistant Senior Divisional Officer said.
A version refuted by the authorities, who indicate that these populations have illegally settled on this site belonging to Douala airport. The inhabitants have been warned to leave the place, confides the head of block 10 of the New Town Airport district.
The reason for this eviction, the authorities justify, is the continued expansion of Douala International Airport, as works are expected to kick off in no distant future. Now evicted, some of these families are still squatting while hoping they could be given another site to relocate and pick up with their lives though it remains unlikely.
“There are no measures of resettlement of these populations. They illegally occupied the land of the airport,” the civil administrator said.