Catholic Priest in Cameroon Says Parish “paralyzed” by Heavy Boko Haram Insurgency

Burnt church at Saint Pierre parish in Douroum, Cameroon. Credit: ACN

Boko Haram militants are expanding their operations to rural villages in Nigeria and on the border with other countries, a Catholic Priest in Cameroon has said, adding that the militants have paralyzed pastoral activities in a huge chunk of his Parish.

In a message to Catholic Pontifical foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, the Priest who the foundation does not name for security reasons says that the arrival of militants in Oupaï, a town that lies in the far North of Cameroon, had left locals with fear and anxiety.

“Today the people are full of fear and anxiety,” the Catholic Priest says in the ACN Thursday, March 31 report, and adds, “We have received another visit – one of many – from Boko Haram militants. They managed to reach Oupaï by coming through Douval.”

The Boko Haram militants, the Catholic Priest says, killed two people, burned the houses and carried off clothing and animals.

“Since mid-February four of the seven areas of the parish have been paralyzed,” he is quoted as saying in the report, and adds, “We thought they wouldn’t be able to reach Oupaï because it is right on top of a mountain, but we were wrong!”


Mount Oupaï is 1,494 metres high and lies close to the border with Nigeria, in the far north of Cameroon. It falls in a region that is served by the Catholic Diocese of Maroua-Mokolo.

“Five areas have been affected. The villages of Bigdé, Douval and Vara are already almost completely empty”, the Priest tells ACN, adding that the terrorist cells have changed their modus operandi.

“In the past they entered villages, ostentatiously yelling war cries. But recently they have come discreetly, taking advantage of the full moon, to surprise people in their sleep. They kill the fathers of the family and the teenagers, especially the boys. Then they pillage the family’s property and destroy everything they can’t carry off,” he says.

ACN reports that towards the end of 2021, the Nigerian government announced that Boko Haram members were being disarmed and reintegrated into society.

“Through several operations, thousands of insurgents, including fighters, non-combatants and family members, were laying down their weapons in different parts of Borno state, in north-eastern Nigeria. Just last week, according to General Musa, a high-ranking Nigerian officer, 7,000 members of Boko Haram and its offshoot ISWAP (Islamic State’s West Africa Province) surrendered,” the Catholic charity reports.

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However, according to information received by ACN, Boko Haram has shifted its sphere of operations to more rural areas of Nigeria and especially into the frontier regions of Cameroon and Lake Chad.

The Pontifical charity reports that it had received information that since September 2021, Boko Haram has been inflicting regular attacks in Mutskar on the Nigerian border with Northern Cameroon.

These attacks, ACN reports, have devastated Church life and slowed down all pastoral activities.

According to the Catholic charity, Boko Haram raiders seem to be interested in cereals, goats and sheep, poultry and clothing, and “they strip the people of everything they need to live.”

The Catholic entity says, in reference to the embattled Cameroonian town, “Existence was naturally precarious in a region where hunger is common and resources are scarce, but now the population has been forced into an exodus towards villages further north where they are exposed to other types of insecurity.”


According to the Catholic Priest who spoke to ACN, people who choose to stay in the villages that fall under attack are “forced to sleep away from their pitiful shacks in the cold and in terrible conditions.”

In his appeal for solidarity, the Catholic Priest says, “The situation is really worrying, and we count on your prayers.”

The charity foundation reports that it has approved a project to support a refugee camp for victims of Boko Haram in Minawao, in the diocese of Maroua-Mokolo, in the far North of Cameroon.

“Funds have also been allocated to print 2,000 Bibles in Mafa, the language spoken in 12 Parishes in the same Diocese,” ACN indicates in the March 31 report, and adds, “The local Christians wish to improve their knowledge to be better grounded in their faith and thereby be better able to face the challenges posed by their increasingly radical Muslim surroundings.”

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.