Southern Cameroons Bishops call for an end to the conflict: Our people are tired of living in uncertainty
“We deplore the violence, insecurity, kidnappings, torture and senseless killings, sometimes of innocent people and children”, emphasized the Bishops of the Bishops’ Conference of Bamenda Province (BAPEC) in a statement published on Sunday, August 22nd, in which they renew their appeal for the end to the long conflict in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
The BAPEC members appeal to all armed groups to “end the violence with immediate effect and work towards a peaceful solution to the conflict”. “Our people have suffered enough and are tired of living in uncertainty and fear”, said the bishops, who praised the commitment of the priests who “stood by the people entrusted to them with pastoral care and have made and continue to make heroic sacrifices in this time of crisis”.
On August 20, a seven-year-old student at the St. Theresa Catholic Primary School in the Kumbo diocese of Cameroon was killed by a stray bullet in a gun battle between Cameroonian soldiers and separatists near the school.
On Sunday, August 22nd, a female parishioner was killed and a pastor was wounded during a service in the Presbyterian Church in northwest Bali.
A military patrol was ambushed by separatists. In the exchange of fire, stray bullets killed the women and wounded the pastor.
The conflict in the Anglophone regions in the southwest and northwest of Cameroon has been dragging on for more than four years and has intensified since the separatists symbolically declared the independence of the two areas that have been grouped into one in Ambazonia on October 1, 2017.
The separatists chose the date of October 1st to commemorate the independence of the English-speaking area from the United Kingdom in 1961. The French-speaking part had gained independence from France in 1960. The creation of a single bilingual state was then decided in a referendum. However, residents of the English-speaking regions complain that they are discriminated against in legislation and in education compared to French speakers.
The conflict has already claimed more than 3,500 lives and forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes.
Source: Agenzia Fides