A priest of the diocese of Mamfe in the Southwest region of Cameroon has been kidnapped as the fighting in Southern Cameroons rages on and enters a critical phase.
Father Christopher Eboka was taken away by unknown gunmen on Friday, May 21, 2021 who have requested a huge ransom from the diocese. The kidnapping of members of the clergy is unfortunate and this underscores the need for all the factions involved in the conflict to seek ways of reaching a peaceful resolution.
The Cameroon Concord News Group correspondent in Mbonge has spoken with Father Christopher’s mother who is very devastated and is urging those responsible for the priest’s kidnapping to release him so that he can continue with the great job he has been doing.
Kidnapping a priest is not only despicable, it is the height of irresponsibility and the Cameroon Concord News Group is joining its voice to that of the mother of father Christopher Eboka to urge the kidnappers to release the man of God.
Those who kidnap men of God are crossing a dangerous red line and this must be condemned by all god-fearing Cameroonians.
The clergy in the two English-speaking regions of the country has been playing a significant role since the Southern Cameroons crisis started in 2016 with the objective of engineering a lasting peace in the two English-speaking regions of the country and to help alleviate the suffering of the population.
Over the last two weeks, the fighting in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of the country had escalated, with army soldiers taking huge casualties.
Southern Cameroonian fighters who started out with dane guns have morphed into manufacturers of effective Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which are sending many army soldiers to an early grave.
While the army soldiers have been brutal and successful in outgunning Southern Cameroonian fighters due to their superior weaponry, the use of IEDs by Southern Cameroonian fighters over the last year has left the government in an unfortunate quandary.
In the country’s northwest region where the fighting is escalating on a daily basis, the IEDs have been going off every day and many uniformed officers have not had the luck to return to their families.
The military has lost many of its fighting equipment and these new strategy developed by the Southern Cameroonian fighters has left many army soldiers with tones of butterflies in their stomachs.
The morale among the soldiers is down and many of them, especially those who have been to the battlefield, understand that this war will never be won on the battlefield, as Southern Cameroonian fighters have become deadlier and more determined to push the military out of Southern Cameroons.
Many of the young soldiers are from poor backgrounds and they need the salary from the military, but their belief in a conclusive military victory is diminishing on a daily basis as news of their wounded and dead colleagues spreads across the country like wildlife.
Many of those army soldiers would jump at any opportunity that would get them out of the military, but Cameroon is a country that is bereft of jobs and opportunities. The young soldiers are now caught between the rock and a hard place.
If they refuse to go to Southern Cameroons where Southern Cameroonian fighters are delivering death to many soldiers for free, they will end up in jail for a long time. If they head to Southern Cameroons, they are sure they will not be coming back to East Cameroon, or if they must return, it will either be in a body bag or with debilitating injuries that will make entirely dependent on their family members.
The situation in Southern Cameroons is dire. The world has to wake up from its sleep. The fighting in that part of the country has escalated and very many young Cameroonians are losing their lives because a government ruled by old and ailing leaders is still seeing negotiations as a weakness.
If the world does not stand up against the brutality playing out in Southern Cameroons now, it will one day regret its decision, as many young lives are being wasted due to the inflated ego of people who have prioritized war over peace.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai