Rapes and Killings in Southern Cameroons:There are reasons why the Anglophone Episcopal dog has not barked
Troops deployed from Yaoundé and Douala killed innocent Southern Cameroonians, raped several of our children, injured many and carried dozens away from their homes and families under the watchful eyes of five Anglophone Roman Catholic Bishops. We of Cameroon Intelligence Report think it was a curious incident of the dog in the night-time. It had not barked. The same observation may be made about the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. Why has there not been any joint pastoral declaration condemning the killings in Buea, Kumba, Bamenda and Kumbo?
Apart from the individual condemnation of Retired Cardinal Tumi of the Douala Arch Diocese- being the most vociferous and trenchant — there is still no unified, Episcopal reaction to atrocities committed by troops deployed to Southern Cameroons by the Biya Francohone Beti Ewondo regime. We understand that there exists a penalty on membership if Roman Catholics were to involve in such gross acts of human rights violation. Theoretically is excommunication.
The one million dollar question is: Why has the Anglophone Episcopal dog not bark? No draft condemnation was prepared after the killings and rapes!! Nothing has been issued on the matter by the Anglophone Roman Catholic Bishops. The reason is simple and is partly explained by divisions within the hierarchy, and by the speed at which the events occurred. The Archbishop of the Bamenda Arch Diocese, Bishop Cornelius Esua has been deliberately slow to react to events unfolding in Bamenda. All the Anglophone Bishops have resisted being pressurized by their majority following to respond to the happenings in Southern Cameroons.
Some Roman Catholics have stated that the Anglophone Bishops have proved the wisdom of not jumping into the fray — particularly as such an Episcopal condemnation would have been used by the Yaoundé regime against the people of Southern Cameroons. By remaining silent, the Bishops have justified the executions and extra-judicial killings in the South West and North West regions.
The aged and ailing archbishop of Bamenda and that of the Buea Diocese have failed to realize that what is happening now in the South West and North West would likely redirect the course of Roman Catholic history in British Southern Cameroons. Those raped and killed were not anonymous vandals as stated by the Bishop of Yaoundé, His Lordship Bishop Jean Mbarga in his homily on Christmas Day. These were young and dynamic Christians personally known to the bishops, and the clergy, as devout Catholic laymen.
We are not in any way suggesting that those who participated in the riots in Kumba, Bamenda, Buea and Kumbo were overwhelmingly Catholics. But we believe and fervently too that the silence maintained by the Anglophone Bishops is very disturbing. What the Bishops would have faced, in the wake of the killings and the rapes — had they condemned the brutal military intervention from La Republique — would have been a vicious attack from CPDM government ministers. But their current stance is generating a very strong dissident movement within the religious orders (male and female), the diocesan clergy, and even on the bench of bishops itself.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Cameroon Concord News Group