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Disease Stops Trade in East Africa’s Border Towns

Hundreds of merchants gathered Friday in Kye Ossi, a Cameroonian town on the border with Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, to protest travel restrictions imposed since an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus. They say the restrictions are suffocating trade and violate a Central African regional agreement on the free movement of people and goods. The merchants say by restricting the movement of people, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea are disrespecting a regional agreement among countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC. Under normal circumstances, several hundred merchants cross borders to Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon each day to do business. The Cameroon government says merchants should present themselves to border surveillance teams of health workers and police to facilitate the movement of goods.