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 over 679,000 people. More than 600,000 children have not been able to go to school in the two regions, and at least 3,000 lives have been lost during the four-year skirmishes.
During the January 29 press conference at Cameroon’s Unity Palace, Cardinal Parolin expressed the desire of the Holy See to see an end to the protracted conflict in the two anglophone regions.
“What we seek is peace and reconciliation in these regions and in the country especially in this present situation where there are many other crises starting from the COVID-19 crisis,” the Vatican-based Cardinal told journalists.
Peace, the 66-year-old Cardinal pointed out, “is the only condition to grow and achieve sustainable development everywhere.”
“I assured the President of the willingness of the Catholic Church and the Bishops in these regions, to give contribution to the solution to this conflict,” he further told journalists.
After the meeting with Cardinal Parolin, President Paul Biya tweeted, “Today, I had a cordial conversation with Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin who delivered a message of peace from His Holiness Pope Francis.”
The Vatican’s Secretary of State arrived in Cameroon on January 28 on his weeklong visit during which he is expected to visit the troubled North Western and South Western Anglophone regions of the country.
Upon arrival in the Central African nation, the Italian-born Prelate who has been serving as Vatican’s Secretary of State since October 2013 and a Cardinal since February 2014 thanked those who turned up to receive him saying, “I am very happy to be with you. We are going to ask God to bless this visit, to bless Cameroon and the Church of Cameroon.”