“We, the undersigned Roman Catholic bishops from across the globe, write to respectfully urge your government to participate in proposed Swiss-led peace talks aimed at ending the violence in Cameroon’s North West and South West regions,” wrote 16 Bishops from around the world in an open letter to the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, reported Fides News Agency. In their letter the Bishops invite the Cameroonian Head of State to find “a lasting solution to Cameroon’s problems” through “a mediated process that includes Anglophone armed-separatist groups and non-violent civil-society leaders”.
The Bishops say they are driven by the humanitarian disaster caused by the crisis affecting the two English-speaking regions: “We are motivated by our concern about the suffering of unarmed civilians, and the stability and prosperity of Cameroon. Violence and atrocities on all sides have forced 656,000 Anglophone Cameroonians from their homes, kept 800,000 children from school (including 400,000 from Catholic schools), caused 50,000 people to flee to Nigeria, destroyed hundreds of villages and resulted in a death toll of at least 2,000. Each of these lives is precious, and we mourn their suffering and wish to prevent more loss of life.”
“We believe the proposed Swiss-led talks offer the best path to an appropriate political solution through inclusive negotiations. It is our sincere hope that all interested stakeholders will join these talks and show a spirit of cooperation, pragmatism, and realism to ensure these negotiations succeed,” said the Bishops.
However, violence does not stop. Today, February 21, masses are celebrated for the victims of the massacre perpetrated on February 14 in Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw, a village in the Anglophone region of the North West. His Exc. Mgr. George Nkuo, Bishop of Kumbo, accused the army of being responsible. “We were informed of what happened on February 14 in the village of Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw in the parish of San Martino di Porrès in Ndu on Friday, February 14; Soldiers invaded Ngarbuh at 4 am and survivors say twenty-four people were killed, including pregnant women and young children. Some victims were burned alive”, said the Bishop.