On the heels of the violent fire disaster of undetermined origin which consumed hundreds of shops at the Marché Congo in Douala, the President of the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Crafts (CCIMC), Hon. Christophe Eken, early on Monday, 25th February 2019, led a powerful delegation made up of CCIMC elected members, Secretary-General and employees of the to the site of the disaster.
Notable in the delegation was the presence of Mr. Saībou Oumara, CCIMC Commerce Section President and Madam Alice Maguedjio, CCIMC member and at the same time President of the Mboppi Market Dynamic Traders’ Association (Ascodymm) in Douala. Both personalities are living witnesses of the bad streak that has recurrently been unfolding in our markets for the past couple of years.
The President’s outing enabled him to assess the situation, get explanations as to what happened and provide consolation to traders, all members of the Institution he heads, who had been hard hit by yet another disaster. It can be recalled that on the night of 3rd breaking 4th July 2012, about 600 businesses at the same market went up in flames, causing material losses estimated at more than a billion FCFA.
In short, the disaster left a market that looked like an image of the Apocalypse, completely submerged in a thick layer of black smoldering ashes which victims were hurriedly gathering in mounds as if to exorcize their suffering. Investigations aimed at determining the causes of the fire and assessing losses due to it are under way.
Nearby, and precisely at an abandoned construction site where works to build a modern structure to host a market worthy of the name were begun after previous outbreak of 2012, we noticed spaces had already been demarcated using ribbons of torn cloth, probably picked up from the debris of burnt shops.