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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 12:24 GMT
Cameroon mass polygamous wedding
By Randy Joe Sa'ah
BBC News, Yaounde

A wedding couple laugh and hug
Costly wedding ceremonies often discourage people from marrying
Cameroon's government has organised a mass wedding of more than 50 couples, most already living polygamously.

Cameroon's first lady Chantal Biya offered gifts to the newly weds, mostly Muslim couples, at the all-expenses paid ceremony in the capital, Yaounde.

The women's affairs minister said the event was aimed at providing legal protection to concubines.

Many couples are choosing not to wed as they fear a wedding will be costly and to register the union costs up to $25.


More than 1,000 guests attended the festivities in the gardens of the National Museum on Thursday.

A man marrying three women exchange rings
I have 17 children. All of us live together but each wife has her own kitchen
Groom, 47

In colourful attire, the couples took their seats under the giant canopies as loud music played.

Some of them carried their babies with them during the service.

A 47-year-old man said he was marrying three women at the ceremony.

"I have 17 children. All of us live together but each wife has her own kitchen," he said.

Women's Affairs Minister Suzan Mbombak said she hoped the event would encourage other unmarried women living with a partner to get legally wed.

She added that the children of such unions would than have more protection in the eyes of the law.

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