The call for dialogue as a way out of the security crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone region has been reiterated by the country’s Catholic Bishops.
In an interview with the BBC Focus on Africa, Bishop of Mamfe in the southwest region, Andrew Nkea, stressed that urgent dialogue was required to pull the country back from a “useless and senseless” civil war.
In the interview, he spoke at length about the harrowing experiences that bishops went through during a tour of burnt down regions in the violence hit parts of the Anglophone regions – Northwest and Southwest.
“One of the main things we are stressing is that violence only breeds violence, but if we start talking to each other, we may arrive at a middle point where there will be peace and that is what we want, we want a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“And this can only come through dialogue, some form of reconciliation, some form of discussion that will bring all the warring parties to save this country from what we call a useless and senseless civil war,” he said.
The regions in question have been riled by armed violence between government and secessionist forces. A cry against marginalization from French-majority Cameroon escalated in October last year when separatists attempted to declare a so-called independent Ambazonia Republic.
The bishop stressed that violence has been on both sides, whiles the army was burning down entire villages, the spearatists were also burning down schools and other state institutions.
The international Crisis Group has identified the church as the most potent political mediator between the government and separatist elements.
Its April 26 report titled: Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How the Catholic Church Can Promote Dialogue, averred that the clergy needed to united with a strong common position (between federalism vs. decentralisation) in order to be seen as credible mediators.
Writer: Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban