VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The situation in English-speaking regions of Cameroon is “marked by blind, inhuman, monstrous violence and by a radicalization of positions that alarm us,” said the president of the Cameroon bishops’ conference.
“Let us stop all forms of violence and let us stop killing each other,” said Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, the president, in a statement May 16. “Let us save our country from an unfounded and useless civil war.”
Caritas Internationalis, in an appeal launched May 15, reported that the conflict in Cameroon “has forced 160,000 people out of their homes into the bush and a further 26,000 to cross into Nigeria as they flee regions ‘stalked by fear and death.’ Whether a person speaks English or French has become a reason to kill.”
Tensions between Cameroon’s French-speaking majority and English-speaking minority have been growing since late 2016 when lawyers and then teachers in the English-speaking northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon went on strike to protest the appointment of French-speaking judges and the use of French in schools. In October, English-speaking separatists declared an independent state, “Ambazonia.”
Archbishop Kleda’s statement said, “the brutal repression of the army against an independence movement in the English-speaking regions of the country” has fueled an escalation of the humanitarian crisis.
“Not a week goes by without houses being burned down, people kidnapped or killed. Fear has taken over this territory,” wrote Hippolyte Sando of Caritas Cameroon in a letter March 28 from Mamfe, a diocese in the southwest which Caritas described as being at the “epicenter” of the violence.
“The village of Kembong is a typical example of the suffering of the people. Here, young and old alike have been sleeping in the forest since Sept. 29,” Sando wrote. “Two priests and a hundred or so villagers spent months living in the compound of Bishop Andrew Nkea of Mamfe, and it was only recently that they cautiously agreed to go back to their villages on the condition that they would no longer be attacked.”
The diocesan, national and international Caritas organizations are mobilizing to provide emergency aid both within Cameroon and across the border in Nigeria where many of the refugees have sought shelter and safety.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103