The train accident which occurred in Eséka on 21 October has given ideas on history to some Cameroonians. Some went through a flashback to find the main accidents which shook the country and analyse the frequency at which these serious tragedies happen. And “eureka!”, these amateur historians found out that there is a major tragedy occurring in Cameroon every 10 years since 1986. Which is not true, whether these crystal ball readers want it or not.
The archives diggers list that Cameroon had an explosion in the Lake Nyos (in the North-Western region, photo) in 1986. Which is correct. Indeed, the explosion of a carbon dioxide gas cloud over the crater lake resulting in the death of over 1,500 on Thursday 21 August 1986; leaving several neighbouring villages in consternation. And on social networks, we learn that the Nsan tragedy in Yaoundé followed in 1996, thus 10 years later. Which is false. It was rather on Saturday 14 February 1998 (and not 1996) that the Nsam accident occurred.
On that day, petrol train tankers slipped from the Société Camerounaise des Dépôts Pétroliers (SCDP – Cameroonian oil depot company) convoy. People gathered in throngs to collect the free gasoline. Then came a large fire which took 250 lives. To keep with the 10-year tragedy logic, the online archivists pretend that after the Nsam tragedy, the crash of flight 507 from airline company Kenya Airways, in the town of Mbanga Pongo happened in 2006. However, it was on 5 May 2007 and not in 2006 that this major air accident occurred. All 114 passengers on board of this Boeing 737-800 perished as they were flying to Douala from Nairobi in Kenya. And if the fortune tellers were true, logically, the new tragedy should come about in 2026...
Monique Ngo Mayag