Cardinal Tumi who retired in November 2009 after serving as Bishop since January 1980 responds, “There are many misunderstandings between citizens of the same country.”
“I asked the same question to an old retired teacher. She has never left the village from the beginning of the fighting until today. I asked this lady, what needs to be done now so that children can go back to school and for peace to return,” the Cardinal recounts.
He continues to recount two things that the “old retired teacher” told him saying, “The first that the president must declare a ceasefire. The second thing is that the army must return to the barracks, and these boys hidden in the bushes and forests must come out and immediately lay down their weapons, and there will be peace, and the children will be able to go back to school.”
“And I agree with her,” Cardinal Tumi say in reference to the suggestions made by the “old retired teacher” and bemoans the fate of many Cameroonians amid the four-year-old Anglophone crisis, “Many have lost their lives stupidly! I say stupidly because there is no real justification for the loss of life.”
After a night in captivity, Cardinal Tumi was freed November 6.
(Story continues below)
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The Cardinal who was ordained a Priest in April 1966 for Cameroon’s Buea Diocese has been vocal about the need for constructive and inclusive dialogue between President Paul Biya-led government and the leadership of the separatist group in view of finding a lasting solution to the Anglophone crisis.
In July 2018, the Cardinal, alongside other religious leaders, convened the All Anglophone General Conference (AGC) aimed as discussing strategies to bring the protracted crisis to an end. However, the government did not grant the authorization and the meeting did not take place.
In August 2019, the Cardinal launched a nationwide crusade advocating for peace in the troubled regions of Cameroon.
With several resolutions adopted during the National Dialogue that was presided over by Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute in October 2019, Cardinal Tumi along with Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Bamenda Archdiocese led separate campaigns to sensitize the population about the resolutions.
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.