English Africa Service – Vatican City
Cameroon’s Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Cardinal Christian Tumi, has welcomed President Paul Biya’s proposal for a national dialogue to discuss the Anglophone Crisis.
Historical grievances in the English speaking regions
“We are obliged to do everything possible, even at the cost of our lives, to bring peace back to Cameroon,” Cardinal Tumi said. He was speakaing on behalf of a group of religious leaders.
Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis also known as the Ambazonia War has been a long-brewing crisis steeped in historical grievances among the English speaking regions of Cameroon. Things came to a head in October 2016 and it is now a full-blown civil war between the country’s security forces and armed separatists.
Separatists want to create a new state to be called Ambazonia
The militant separatists believe their areas would be better served by a separate state to be called Ambazonia.
The army has been accused of high handedness when dealing with civilians in the troubled regions. There have been many reports of violent repression and killings by the military. Nevertheless, analysts say both government forces and the separatists have committed serious human rights violations.
A humanitarian crisis happening
The United Nations says there is currently a significant humanitarian disaster happening in the English speaking regions of Cameroon.
The Crisis has already claimed over 2 000 lives and more than 500 000 people, mostly women and children, forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.
Major National Dialogue welcomed
Largely Cameroonians support the Major National Dialogue, but observers say its success depends on what happens to resolutions arrived at by the delegates of the National Dialogue. Some people in the English speaking regions are calling for a return to the original two-state federation of 1961 unilaterally abrogated by President Biya’s government.
For now, the country’s religious leaders hope and pray that the country will find peace and bring to an end the sufferings of Cameroonians, some of whom are dying of hunger and disease.