He adds in reference to the perpetrators of the attack on the Catholic Parish in his Episcopal See, “They should know that they are children of God and that the Lord is ready to forgive them.”
Credit: Courtesy Photo
“Never in the history of mankind have people fought against God. You cannot try the patience of God. They have tried the patience of men, now they want to try the patience of God,” the 49-year-old Cameroonian Bishop says, and adds, “We pray for the Priests, religious and other people who were taken away. We pray that they should be released.”
Those abducted during the September 16 arson attack, Bishop Abangalo says in the video, “have not committed any crime. If there are issues affecting our nation we should sit together and discuss it. We should not be killing people, harassing people and destroying property.”
Credit: Courtesy Photo
(Story continues below)
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Cameroon’s English-speaking regions plunged into conflict in 2016 after a protest by lawyers and teachers turned violent. An armed movement of separatists claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on protesters.
In their September 17 collective statement, BAPEC members decry the negative effects of the protracted conflict in the Central African nation.
They say that “since this crisis started in 2016 until today, the People have suffered terribly and men and women of God have been soft targets of kidnappers, torturers and unscrupulous gun men.”
“A wave of persecution against the hierarchy of the church is now the new game of the ‘Struggle’, and all kinds of threat messages are sent out against Missionaries who have surrendered their lives to work for the people,” the Catholic Church leaders add.
They note that “these attacks are not only against the Catholic Church but also against the Presbyterian and the Baptist Churches in Cameroon. And strange enough, some of those who attack the churches ferociously, are people who are either members of these churches or who have benefitted from the generosity of these Churches.”
“Looking at all that the Church has done and is still doing for the people of the Regions of the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon in its history, we, the Bishops and the Ministers of the Churches address our people with the strong words of Yahweh to Israel Our People, how have we offended you, answer us"(Micah 6:3-4),” BAPEC members say.
They continue, “It is important to remind these violent offenders of the Church and Her Ministers that what they have done in 2022 AD is equivalent to what King Nebuchadnezzar did in 587 BC when he burnt down the temple in Jerusalem and looted the temple and carried away the priests to Babylon, (2 Kings 25:8-19).”
“But they must also remember what happened to the great King Nebuchadnezzar after attacking the house of God: ‘He was driven from human society and fed on grass like oxen, and was drenched by the dew of heaven; his hair grew long as eagle's feathers, and his nails became like bird's claws,” BAPEC members say.
Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo of Mamfe Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo
They call on all Christians to continue “to pray for the Church in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda and for all her Ministers.”
“We pray for protection and at the same time for forgiveness of the offenders like Christ on the Cross who prayed: Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing,” the Catholic Church leaders add in the September 17 statement shared with ACI Africa.
They further “call on people of goodwill to exercise vigilance over the temporal goods of the Church and her personnel and protect them from the powers of the Evil One.”
“While we pray for protection, we also pray through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, that peace may return to our Ecclesiastical Province and that a lasting solution may be reached to this problem,” BAPEC members implore.
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.