“Learnt with saddened heart”: Catholic Bishop on Murder of Plantation Workers in Cameroon

Entrance to the CDC Banana Plantation in Tiko, South West Region of Cameroon. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Bishop of Buea Diocese in Cameroon “learnt with a saddened heart” about the murder of five plantation workers after the truck they were travelling in came under attack in Tiko, a locality in his Episcopal See.

On February 10, suspected Separatists fighters opened fire on the truck that plantation workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) – the country's largest state-owned agro-industrial company – were traveling in, killing at least five persons and injuring dozens, Reuters reported.

In his Monday, February 13 statement shared with ACI Africa, Bishop Michael Miabesue Bibi says he “vehemently” condemns the attack and murder of plantation workers.

He says he “learnt with a saddened heart the tragic news about five workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) Banana Group, comprising four men and one woman, shot dead and several others wounded on Friday, February 10, 2023.”

Making reference to the February 11 press release of the CDC General Manager narrating the attack, Bishop Bibi says, “The workers were returning from work at about 5:30p.m. when unidentified gunmen attacked the personnel carrier transporting them along the stretch of road off the Tiko-Douala road from Mondoni Oil Mill found in the circumscription of St. Peter's Parish, Mudeka, in Diocese of Buea.”


“I vehemently condemn with the strongest words this devastating and despicable inhuman act which has no moral, judicial, social or political justification irrespective of the motive,” the Cameroonian Catholic Bishop says in his February 13 statement.

He adds, “The act is not only a heinous crime against humanity but a sin against God, as no one has the right to take away the life of another for whatever reasons.”

“Human life remains sacrosanct, and no one except God, has power over it,  Bishop Bibi says in reference to Exodus 20:13, and the 25 March 1995 Encyclical Letter on the value and inviolability of human life,  Evangelium Vitae, 53),” Bishop Bibi says.

Cameroon’s English-speaking regions plunged into conflict in 2016 after a protest by lawyers and teachers turned violent. An armed movement of separatists claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on protesters.

In the February 11 press release, the CDC General Manager indicates that “44 others who were on the same personnel vehicle transporting the workers are currently receiving treatment at the Tiko hospital.”

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Franklin Ngoni Njume further says, “The motive behind the act was still to be established as investigations are ongoing to track down those who masterminded the act.”

He appeals to the entire workforce of the corporation “to stay calm, focused and be vigilant.”

In his February 13 statement shared with ACI Africa, Bishop Bibi says that he finds it regrettable that “such abominable acts are becoming more and more common in our communities today.”

“As a Christian community we cannot be indifferent to the shedding of innocent blood, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, looting, destruction of livelihoods and displacement of people from their homes,” he says, and adds, “In the face of all these, I urge Christians to remain resolute in professing their faith and bearing witness to Christ and to the dignity of all human life.”

The Catholic Church leader who started his Episcopal Ministry as Auxiliary Bishop of Cameroon’s Bamenda Archdiocese in March 2017 extends his “sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, and share in their pain.”


He invites the people of God to “pray that God in his infinite mercy may grant eternal rest to the departed souls, heal the wounded, strengthen the survivors and grant true and lasting peace to our country.”

“Let us also pray for the repentance and conversion of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. May God continue to bless and heal our land. Yours in His Service,” the Local Ordinary of Buea Diocese says in his February 13 statement.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.