Kumba Market Up in Flames!

Kumba Market goes up in flames

Parts of the Kumba Main Market in Cameroon’s South West Region have been reduced to ashes following a fire outbreak early Friday, March 16.

Initial reports say the sweltering flames blazed from a yet-to-be identified source at about 3:30 am.  Close to 30 shops in the textiles section of the major regional commercial hub were completely razed.

No human life was lost in the inferno, but material damages are expected to run the tune of several million francs CFA.  Local administrators who came to assess the extent of the damage suspected anarchical electrical connections and a short circuit in one of the shops must have sparked the fire, though many insinuated arson could not be completely ruled out.

“The burnt shops were not inside the market space controlled by the Kumba Urban Council though they directly shared fences.  In fact, they are managed by a certain Ndile, and many are asking why the urban Council will allow a private investor to own shops so close to the market it controls,”  Margaret Tah, a Kumba resident queried. According to many onlookers, the extent of the damage could have been significantly reduced by fire fighters.

Unfortunately, the entire South West Region is not fitted with a fire-fighting brigade, and so attempts by locals to put out the blistering flames with buckets of water and sand proved relatively futile. Local administrative authorities cordoned off the market till further notice for security reasons.  At press time Friday, the prefect for the Meme was holding a crisis meeting to outline an emergency action plan.

Friday’s fire followed another in November 2005 which provoked huge material losses.  It was followed in less than a month by another which also caused vast losses to traders, but fortunately did not result in deaths. The Kumba Main Market is about the largest in the South West region.  It is major trade interchange venue for Cameroonian and a vibrant community of Nigerian merchants.

Source : Cameroonpostline

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