Pope Francis offered his prayers on Sunday (September 29) for the success of a meeting of national dialogue that will be held in Cameroon on Monday (September 30).
Addressing thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff expressed his closeness to the people of Cameroon and asked the faithful to pray for national dialogue and lasting solutions for peace.
“Feeling close to the sufferings and hopes of the beloved Cameroonian people, I invite everyone to pray so that this dialogue may be fruitful and lead to solutions of just and lasting peace, to the benefit of all”, Francis said.
Cameroon has been gripped by violence since November 2016, when government forces crushed a movement of Anglophone teachers and lawyers protesting against their perceived social exclusion by the country’s French-speaking majority.
The protests turned into an insurgency of separatists seeking independence for the Anglophone southwest and northwest regions, which were controlled by Britain during colonialism.
Since then, fighting has killed about 1,800 people and displaced over 500,000, according to U.N. estimates.
According to Cameroonian authorities the meeting, announced by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya on September 11, would bring together a wide range of people to find a solution to the separatist socio-political crisis that has plagued the two Anglophone regions.