The gunfire died down this morning and after a couple hours of quiet, I went out to have a look. I drove over to the prison to see what the damage was. The main gate was broken, but everything seemed quite calm. I didn't quite dare drive over to the CRS camp. I'm not that imprudent and/or curious.
As everything seemed "business as usual", I decided to go into town and run some errands. I could see that the Bank of Africa was closed. And several other businesses hadn't opened. I continued right over to Marina Market to buy a few groceries. But as I tried to enter, they started evacuating the store. All those shoppers eager to part with their francs cfa had to leave, pronto. The guards doing the directing and prodding told me that things were heating up again near the downtown police station.
I got home and started preparing for Severin’s birthday party. Not the ideal day, admittedly, but the invitations went out a week ago. Unfortunately, the location was specified as the Rec Center and the place has just been closed down until after Christmas. (Last night Severin’s pal Samuel called and asked ” Since there’s a war, is Severin’s birthday cancelled?) No, not cancelled, but the venue changed. I called everyone and told them to come to our house. Only half dared venture out. Then, at 3:30, a curfew was announced. Beginning at 4pm all persons needed to be off the streets until tomorrow morning…..So, I had to call parents to come and get their kids before the curfew trapped them all at our place. It was a sort of abbreviated celebration.
Here’s the latest from the Embassy, from before the curfew:
U.S. Embassy - Ouagadougou
December 21, 2006 - 3pm
Due to the security situation in Ouagadougou, Americans in the city
should continue to remain indoors and avoid all unnecessary travel.
Although some areas of Ouagadougou appear to be calm at the moment,
there is concern that the conflict could flare up again, particularly
According to reports from private sources and local authorities, the
conflict between the local police and the military has not yet been
resolved. Reports indicate at least four of Ouagadougou's eight police
commissariats were attacked last night and that approximately 600
prisoners were released from a jail in the Zone du Bois area of
Ouagadougou. At the present time, the airport is continuing to operate;
however, we have received reports that some stores and gas stations in
Ouagadougou have closed for the day.
U.S. citizens should carry a copy of the bio-data (picture) page of
their passport with them at all times, as local authorities have
increased identification checks within town. In the past, persons
holding no form of identification have been held in jail overnight.
We are all fine. No more gunfire to report. Those 600 prisoners have a little worried, though. Zone du Bois is OUR neighborhood!