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Church in Cameroon to hold National Days of Prayer for Respect of Human Life

Bishops in Cameroon at the end of their 43rd Annual Seminar in Obala, Saturday, January, 11, 2020.

As the crisis affecting English-Speaking regions of Cameroon continues to deepen amid reports of violence, human rights violation and other forms of untold suffering in these parts of the Central African nation, Bishops in the country have, at the end of their annual seminar in Obala, called for National Days of prayer for the respect of human life in all dioceses across the country.

The prayers will be held from February 1, on every first Friday of the month, until Easter, according to the final communiqué of the 43rd annual seminar of the Bishops of Cameroon seen by ACI Africa early this week.

“The Bishops continue to be concerned about the socio-political situation and the many attacks on human life in Cameroon. They reiterate their call for peace and respect for human life,” reads the communique in part.

It adds, “To this effect, they have decided to organize National Days of Prayer for the respect of human life, from 1 February 2020, on every First Friday of the month, until Easter.”

Speaking to ACI Africa on the importance of the National days of prayer, the President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC), Bishop Abraham Kome noted, “Our country has been facing security challenges in recent times. From the Anglophone crisis, the threat from Boko Haram in the Far North region, we realized Cameroonians are gradually losing respect for human life.”

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Bishop Kome said the violence in Cameroon had impacted negatively on the social and economic lives of the affected residents.

“The ongoing clashes in the Anglophone regions make activities impossible. Difficulties are increasing in the economic field. The majority of businesses have ceased to operate. The population makes a living from agriculture, but cultivating the fields is becoming complicated, many peasants have been killed while working on their farms,” Bishop Kome lamented.

He added, “Today we need to intensify our prayers and seek God’s divine intervention for peace in our hearts and increased love for our fellow brothers and sisters.”

In the last week of 2019, Cameroon’s parliament approved a bill that will grant “special status” to the country’s two Anglophone regions.

This initiative was a result of the National Dialogue that the government convened in October purportedly to resolve the war of secession that has killed at least 3,000 people and displaced over half a million since its outbreak in 2016.

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In the Far North region of the country, the Islamist armed group Boko Haram carried out over 100 attacks since January 2019 killing more than 100 civilians.

The conflict between government forces and Boko Haram has killed thousands of Cameroonians and displaced over 270,000 since 2014, leading to the rise of self-defense vigilante groups, allafrica has reported.

The Local Ordinary of Bafang diocese stated that Fridays were important days of the week in the Catholic Church and were convenient for prayers that suited the warrying nation.

“Friday is an important day for the catholic Church,” the Cameroonian Prelate said and explained, “Fridays are devoted to the Passion of Jesus, Divine Mercy, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we want to use these prayer days to call on the Lord to have Mercy on country and cleanse our land from all the bloodshed in recent years.”

Bishop Kome called on other bishops to strategize for the prayers set to run for months saying, “Each Bishop is charged with the organization of this prayer day in his local Church.”

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He added “We invite all the faithful, and people of goodwill to join us during these days of prayer for the respect of human life.”

In his address at the end of the seminar, the Bishop of Obala, Sosthene Leopold Bayemi invited his brother Bishops “to remain united in prayers and stand firm in faith in order to conquer evil that has destroyed moral values in the society.”

“I wish we all take advantage of this day of prayer called by the Bishops to pray for conversion, for peace in our hearts and in our country,” Bishop Bayemi said.

Convened under the theme, “What Episcopal Conference do we want,” the 43rd seminar of the Bishops in Cameroon was held from January 5-11.