Time Magazine Monday, Jan. 11, 1960
The first of Africa's six new nations to get its independence in 1960 celebrated its beginnings last week with half the country in a state of emergency.
On the morning of the first day of independence, terrorists killed five people in the capital of Yaounde, and the foreign dignitaries who streamed in by air at Douala the day before could see the ruins of the control tower ransacked by another insurgent gang. In six months of struggle 22 whites have died—more than were killed in a similar period during the Mau Mau war in Kenya—and 500 or more Africans.
Responsible for most of the slaughter are the exiled leaders of a dissident political party banned in 1955, who are working to undermine 35-year-old Premier Ahma-dou Ahidjo's fledgling government. The party is led by Dr. Felix-Roland Moumie, who has been issuing Czech pistols to Bamileke tribesmen. Just back from Moscow, Moumie operates from his refuge in nearby really independent Guinea. His followers hide in the hills or attack from across the border in the neighboring British Cameroons.
Hoping to compel new elections before independence, Moumie set out to terrify the population by setting whole villages afire. Last month terrorists decapitated two Catholic missionaries, carrying the heads off into the jungle as trophies. Premier Ahidjo sought to win Moumie's supporters away by amnesty offers. So far, 1,000 members have surrendered but the remaining hard core will be hard to flush out of the dense jungle. With the help of the French, who will remain as advisers at least until mid-1960, Ahidjo is drafting a new constitution and promises new elections in March. But he stubbornly refuses to lift the ban against Moumie's party.
As Cameroon's new green, yellow and red flag fluttered proudly on poles that had carried the French Tricolor for 40 years, thousands gathered before the Legislative Assembly building at midnight to greet independence day with cheers. Later that morning Premier Ahidjo proudly assembled his distinguished guests for the formal ceremony pronouncing independence. The foreigners, who included U.N.
Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and the U.S.'s Henry Cabot Lodge, all had words of good wishes, and one, First Deputy Premier Frol Kozlov of the U.S.S.R., was happy to bring news that Moscow would promptly recognize the new nation.