Advertisement

South African Catholic Institute Calls for Ceasefire in Cameroon’s Anglophone Region

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, the Liaison Bishop of the South Africa-based Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DPHI).

The leadership of the South Africa-based Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DPHI) has joined global leaders including Pope Francis, the United Nations Chief and members of the Global Campaign for Peace and Justice in Cameroon (GCPJC) in calling for a ceasefire in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

Officials of DPHI are urging the parties in conflict to adhere to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2532 (2020).

“As a Roman Catholic organization that promotes peace, justice and sustainable development in Africa, the Denis Hurley Peace Institute calls on the Cameroon government and the Anglophone Cameroon leaders to respect the call of the United Nations Security Council, to adhere to Resolution 2532,” says the Liaison Bishop of the DPHI, Archbishop Stephen Brislin.

In the virtual meeting July 1, members of the United Nations Security Council announced their decision to adopt the resolution that supports the appeal made in March by the Secretary-General for a global ceasefire to facilitate concerted efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in countries experiencing violent conflicts.

Members of the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2532 (2020) in which they demanded “a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda” and called “upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance … and medical evacuations.”

Advertisement

In the Monday, July 20 report published by the Inter-regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), Archbishop Brislin invites the warring parties in Cameroon to “work out an agreement for a ceasefire that can lead to genuine negotiations.” 

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

Since then, the violent conflict has led to the displacement of at least 679,000 people. More than 600,000 children have not been able to go to school in the two regions and more than 3,000 lives have been lost in the four-year conflict.

In the July 20 report, the Archbishop of South Africa’s Cape Town Archdiocese notes that since the adoption of Resolution 2532 (2020), Cameroon is still witnessing a number of attacks. 

He mentions the July 1 Arson attacks by the military in Banbaki-Tungo, Mezam division in which some houses were burnt down; the July 4 Arson attacks in Ngusi, in K. Muan Division; the July 7 military invasion in Bakut, in Eyumojck that led to the deaths of two people and arrests of several youth; and the July 8 Clashes at Kikaikelaki, and invasion of Kikoo among other attacks.

More in Africa

He recognizes the efforts of the government and separatist saying, “We are pleased to note that on 2 July 2020, Cameroon government representatives started pretalks with representatives of Anglophone Cameroon, led by Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius. This will hopefully create an enabling environment for confidence building and a ceasefire agreement from both parties.” 

“We appeal to the Cameroon government and Anglophone Cameroonian leaders not to lose this momentum, but to adhere to Resolution 2532 (2020), and to use the ceasefire firstly to build the capacity to protect the health of all citizens of Cameroon in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the 56-year-old Archbishop says.

In his message, the South African Archbishop also invites the warring parties to “use the momentum to engage in peace negotiations that would result in a lasting peace agreement that expresses the will of the people of Anglophone Cameroon.”

Cameroon has recorded 16,156 cases including 13,728 recoveries and 373 deaths

In April, two Bishops in the midst of the protracted Anglophone crisis in the Central African nation reflected on the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to their pastoral ministry, one of them describing the experience as “no easy job.”

Advertisement

“Shuffling between two crises is no easy job. So, faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation becomes worse,” Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo, a diocese located in the Northwestern region of Cameroon told ACI Africa April 27 in reference to the protracted Anglophone crisis amid COVID-19 restrictions.

“This coronavirus Pandemic has taken us completely by surprise and it is difficult for the people to manage it, given our other problems that were already plaguing the society before it,” the Archbishop of Bamenda, Andrew Nkea Fuanya told ACI Africa April 27.