Cameroon: Warning about possible failure of efforts towards peace
Cardinal promotes dialogue – Intermediaries under pressure – Escalation of violence in civil war (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) fears that the efforts towards peace in Cameroon might fail. "The intermediaries are running out of time. The government is trying to obstruct the peace efforts, while there is more and more violence," criticized Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Friday. Thus, fighters of the Anglophone independence movement are kidnapping more and more civilians. On Thursday, 30 fishermen were abducted, and two other abductees were set free.
"Ten imprisoned leaders of the independence movement will be tried on December 6, 2018, and even more violent incidents are to be expected," Delius stated. For months, the churches have been demanding the abductees to be released, in order to build trust between the conflicting parties – but the appeals went unheard. The ten leaders of the independence movement of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon were detained for political reasons.
The cardinal and retired archbishop of Douala, Christian Tumi, is especially committed to further a credible dialogue between the conflict parties. Tirelessly, the 88-year-old campaigns for a rethinking on behalf of the government, which has so far refused to try and find a political solution to the conflict, relying on military force alone. The cardinal advocated for a general conference on the question of the Anglophone regions to give a voice to civil society, which has hardly been heard yet. There have been two attempts to actually hold such a conference – most recently on November 21 and 22, 2018, in Buea City – but the government refused. Nonetheless, the churches are still trying to organize a general conference as soon as possible.
Two emissaries of French President Emmanuel Macron failed to reconcile the stubborn President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, and to organize a dialogue to resolve the crisis. France fears a loss of influence in Cameroon should Biya stick to his strategy of ignoring or whitewashing the escalating conflict. After being re-elected in October 2018, the president, who has been in office for 26 years, is apparently trying to continue his policy of strength and relentlessness towards the independence movement.
Header image: Elin B via Flickr