People protesting for insecurity in Anglophone regions in Cameroon People protesting for insecurity in Anglophone regions in Cameroon 

Bishops in Cameroon deplore violence in North and Anglophone regions

Closing their annual meeting in Maroua-Mokolo, the Cameroonian bishops express their “constant paternal solicitude and continual prayer” for all victims of violence in Far North and North-West and South-West regions.

By Vatican News

Catholic Bishops in Cameroon have expressed their prayerful closeness to the victims of the ongoing violence in the North region bordering Nigeria, and in the conflict-ridden Anglophone regions, where separatists have been fighting the Francophone-controlled central government since 2017.

In a communiqué released by the National Episcopal Conference (NECC) on 13 January at the closing of its annual meeting held in Maroua-Mokolo Dioces, the bishops deplored the “horrendous acts” perpetrated by Boko Haram Islamist terrorists from neighbouring Nigeria.

Boko Haram attacks in the North

Boko Haram attacks began in Nigeria's Borno state in 2009 before spreading to neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, sowing terror in bordering villages. In the Far North  of Cameroon, the attacks have reportedly forced more than 320,000 people to flee the region.  

The Cameroonian bishops also deplored the atrocities committed by the Anglophone separatists in the North-West and South-West regions.

The Anglophone crisis in North-West and South-West regions

The “Anglophone crisis” erupted after the central government cracked down in 2016 on protests against discrimination and marginalisation of the English-speaking community by the Francophone elites who have been leading the country since independence in the early sixties.

Tensions rapidly escalated into a secessionist political conflict in 2017, with separatists calling for the creation of an independent state called “Ambazonia”, which no country has recognized.

School boycotts have become common in these areas, as have enforced moratoriums on public life along with abductions, which have also increased in the North and have become a real business.

The need to work for peace

In their communiqué following their meeting, focused on the theme “A Synodal Church on Mission”, the Cameroonian bishops deplored “all forms of violence in the country” and expressed their “constant paternal solicitude and continual prayer for all.”

They also manifested concern about “the growing and yawning poverty among the population," appealing for “greater justice, solidarity, hard work, and continuous trust in God.”

At the opening of the for-day session last week, reported to Aci Africa news agency, the President of NECC, Archbishop Andrew Fuanya Nkea of Bamenda, urged all citizens to work towards ensuring that “real peace” is realized throughout the country in 2024 and cautioned them against despair amid growing security challenges.

“We think that all Cameroonians should be open to love peace, to work for peace, and to ensure that Cameroon is in peace,” he said.

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15 January 2024, 16:35