No Progress Made in Stemming Tide of Violence in Cameroon: Catholic Archbishop

Credit: Agenzia Fides

Violence in Cameroon's English-speaking regions still goes on unabated, the Catholic Archbishop of Bamenda Archdiocese has said, noting that efforts to restore peace in the Central African country have been halted until after Christmas 2021.

In a Monday, December 20 report by information service of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also called Propaganda Fides, Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya says that people are trying to embrace the mood of Christmas amid violence.

Archbishop Nkea says, in reference to the five-year-old violence in Cameroon, "There has been no progress in recent times. Now is a period full of activity, at every level, and we hope that after the Christmas holidays we can resume the process of meeting and dialogue."

In the report by Agenzia Fides, the Cameroonian Archbishop says that attacks in the Northwestern region of Cameroon have increased in number and intensity.

“The situation in the English-speaking regions is always very tense. According to observers, the Amba Boys (the independence fighters) are intensifying their attacks on the military. This leads to a violent reaction from the army, which however also affects the civilian population,” he says.


Providing the example of a recent attack in the region, Archbishop Nkea says, “Recently, armed groups planted a bomb near an army center that destroyed the building and killed some of the military and soldiers. In response, they set fire to the houses around the area, resulting in the death among the military and at least two civilians, as well as several completely destroyed homes.”

According to the Agenzia Fides report, English-speaking areas “continue to represent a hotbed of great tension in Cameroon while the dialogue process is struggling to proceed.”

Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions have been experiencing violence after a strike action of lawyers and teachers turned violent.

The violence resulted in the growth of an armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia.

English speakers make up around 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained about being marginalized by the French-speaking ruling class.

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Providing an update of the situation in the embattled region, Archbishop Nkea says that people are trying to go back to their normal way of life, with some businesses and schools reopening even with the violence still going on.

“It must be said that, from a social point of view, life continues. People have learned to live with this absurd state of affairs,” the Local Ordinary of Bamenda says, and adds, “Shops, offices, and transport continue their business. Even schools are open, although not all, only in large centers, let's say that 60 percent of institutions are open.”

“In this period, the cities are full of Christmas decorations, churches are always full. People are tired, they want to go back to a normal life and with these demonstrations they take the opportunity to show it to everyone,” the Catholic Archbishop who has been at the helm of Bamenda since February 2020 following his transfer from Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese says.

He says that the Church in Cameroon, through the intervention of Caritas and the Justice and Peace Commission, is taking action to support the new internally displaced people owing to the latest attacks.

Expressing confidence in a peaceful Cameroon in future, Archbishop Nkea says, “We really hope that Christmas can enlighten hearts and that the new year brings good news.”


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.