Vatican News English Africa Service.
“In many other parts of the world where there is an ongoing conflict, if someone dies or there are attacks, the press all over the planet talk about it. In Cameroon, clashes, killings, massacres or kidnappings have taken place every day for years, but nobody talks about it. Obviously, they are of no interest to anyone, and this increases our suffering,” observed Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya. He spoke to the Agenzia Fides.
What is the Anglophone Conflict?
The Anglophone Crisis sometimes referred to as the Ambazonia War or the Cameroonian Civil War, is an armed conflict in the English speaking territories of Cameroon. The Anglophone regions of Cameroon are the South-West and North-West regions. They make up about twenty per cent of Cameroon’s population.
The current conflict spiralled out of control following the 2016–17 Cameroonian protests about marginalisation. The protests were forcefully suppressed by Cameroonian authorities. What resulted was a low-scale insurgency that has since intestified and spread to most parts of the English speaking areas. Political observers say that the violence has recently worsened.
The insurgents known as Amba Boys fighting the security forces seek to form a separate state called Ambazonia.
World’s indifference is troubling
Archbishop Nkea is saddened by the general silence from the international community towards the conflict in Cameroon.
In the last five years, the conflict has caused thousands of deaths and created families that are internally displaced. Over one million persons have fled and become refugees in Nigeria.
People just want a normal life
“The political situation is still very difficult, and the crisis continues. There is no way out. Violence increases, and more and more weapons circulate among the separatists. The population is exhausted. They no longer want war. They just want a normal life.
The Church and other religious communities in the area say they are committed to promoting dialogue and national reconciliation.
No alternative to dialogue
“There is a platform of religious leaders which is now a point of reference for all dialogue. We speak directly to the government and then to the Amba Boys. We meet them secretly, and we are in constant contact. In the meantime, we are also trying to talk to the (Ambazonia) independence leaders in the diaspora. Thwy are important because they are very influential people. Although carried out with great difficulty, the dialogue is bearing some fruit, such as the reopening of schools. Now sixty per cent of young people attend school regularly,” said Archbishop Nkea.
The Archbishop of Bamenda added, “This conflict can never be resolved with arms. There is no alternative to dialogue,” he emphasised.