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Stop Violence “with immediate effect”: Bishops of Cameroon’s Bamenda Province

Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province (BAPEC). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in Cameroon’s Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province have, in a collective message, renewed their appeal for an end to the protracted conflict in the country’s Anglophone regions.

In the Sunday, August 22 statement, members of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) regret that “there is yet a lot of violence, insecurity, kidnappings, torture, and senseless killings, sometimes of innocent people and children” and urge all warring parties to stop the ongoing violence “with immediate effect”

The members of BAPEC appeal to all armed factions “to stop violence with immediate effect and work towards a more pacific resolution of this conflict.”

In recent times, cases of violence, kidnappings and killings have been on the rise in Cameroon's troubled English-Speaking regions.

On August 20, a seven-year-old pupil at St. Theresa’s Catholic Primary School in Cameroon’s Kumbo Diocese was killed by a stray bullet during a crossfire between Cameroonian military and militants near the learning institution.

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The girl, a primary three pupil, was in a classroom alongside others when she was hit by the stray bullet, Fr. Jude Tanlaka Burinyuy told ACI Africa Friday, August 20, adding that the girl identified as Sinclair Shaalanyuy died on the spot.

The Cameroon Armed Forces was deployed in the North Western part of the country to battle members of the Ambazonia separatist movement (Amba Boys) who have been operational since 2016 when the nation’s Anglophone regions, North West and the South West, plunged into conflict.

Officials of the Catholic Charity and Peace organization, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI), that has been monitoring the conflict reported heavy shooting between the Cameroonian military and the Amba Boys in an exchange that has led to several deaths in August alone.

In an August 18 report shared with ACI Africa, DHPI officials reported that a heavy military invasion was witnessed in the morning hours of August 11 as the forces searched for a certain General Grandpa who is said to have led many attacks against the military forces in the region.

On Sunday, August 22, unidentified gunmen opened fire at Presbyterian Church Ntanfoang in Bali during Church service killing one person and injuring the Pastor.

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In their August 20 statement issued at the end of the 71st BAPEC meeting, the Catholic Bishops say, “Our people have suffered enough and they are tired of living in uncertainty and fear.”

They acknowledge with appreciation the efforts of the Priests “who, for the sake of the people entrusted to their pastoral care, have made and continue to make heroic sacrifices in this time of crisis.”

“We encourage every Priest to seek to bring the healing power of God's grace to everyone in need, to stay close to the marginalized, and to be a shepherd living with the smell of the sheep that has been entrusted to him,” BAPEC members add.

The Catholic Bishops of the five Cameroonian Dioceses located in the Anglophone regions of Central African nation also invite Christians “to continue to pray, so that we may soon see an end to all this suffering.”