Cameroon: 79 children kidnapped from church school

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Cameroon: 79 children kidnapped from church school

indcatholicnews.com

A total of 79 students, aged 10-14, and three teachers, including the principal, were kidnapped from the Presbyterian Secondary School, a boarding school in Bamenda, in northwest Cameroon. The kidnappers are believed to belong to the "Amba boys", the English-speaking separatists. The incident occurred on the eve President Paul Biya taking his new oath of office after he was re-elected for the seventh time.

Rev Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Church expressed shock and dismay at the news of the kidnapping.

"We are lifting up in prayer and solidarity with the kidnapped students and staff, their families, their churches and their communities," said Tveit. We pray to God, and appeal to those responsible for this kidnapping, for the safe release of all those who have been taken."

"This incident underscores the gravity of the crisis afflicting especially the western regions of Cameroon, and we urgently appeal for increased international and ecumenical advocacy and action for a just peace in Cameroon, in which the equal dignity and rights of all people in the country are respected and protected, and for the immediate cessation of all armed violence," said Tveit.

"We pray for the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, and for all the churches of the country, that they may be empowered and strengthened in their witness and for their pilgrimage for justice and peace in Cameroon and the region."`

The crisis in the English-speaking regions has worsened since their secession was proclaimed a year ago. More than 200,000 people were forced to flee because of the violence of the army and the clashes between the military and secessionist groups.

In Douala, the Catholic Church is raising funds for displaced persons.

"Our city of Douala is home to thousands of displaced people who have abandoned their cities, villages and properties in the hope of finding shelter, survival and relief" Mgr Samuel Kleda, Archbishop of Douala and President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC), said in a letter to parish priests.

Members of all Christian denominations have been attacked. On 30 October, Charles Wesco, a Baptist missionary, was killed in clashes between loyalist and secessionist forces. On 4 October a Catholic seminarian, Gerard Anjiangwe, was killed. On 23 July Fr Alexandre Sob Nougi, parish priest of Bomaka, in the south-west, was killed by unidentified armed individuals.

The secessionist protests originated from the demand of the inhabitants of the English-speaking regions to use English in teaching and administrative activities, and to adopt the Common Law system of British origin instead of the law based on the French-style code.

Stressing that it is not the Church's task to define the form of the State, the local Catholic 'Justice and Peace' group has called for the application of decentralization, in order to meet the demands of the English-speaking regions.

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 10:24
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