Southern Cameroons Crisis: Targeting Archbishop Nkea and the Clergy will be a fatal error 0

The fighting in Southern Cameroons has earned the attention of the international community due to atrocities by the military.

The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the burning of the elderly and sick in their homes and the brutal massacre of some 30 women and children in Ngarbuh had made the world to see the Yaoundé regime as a monster that is consuming its own citizens. 

The world seems to be working for a peaceful resolution and the pressure on the government is mounting.

A recent report on the massacres in Ngarbuh put the blame squarely on the country’s military and this has increased the pressure on the Yaoundé government that has not been able to find an acceptable solution to a conflict that started as a protest by teachers and lawyers in 2016.

The country’s economy has taken a hit and government coffers are almost empty. The possibilities of donors extending more loans to Cameroon are slim, especially as the fight against the Coronavirus has taken center stage in global affairs.

While the international community is doing its best, the Diaspora and the Clergy are using all the means available to them to reduce the suffering of the masses, especially those who have been driven away from their homes due to the violence.

A key player in efforts at seeking a peaceful resolution is Archbishop Andrew Nkea who has just been transferred to the Bamenda archdiocese.

While in Mamfe, Archbishop Andrew Nkea did all he could to save so many lives. He worked tirelessly to bring supplies to those who were internally displaced, going sometimes to areas that even government forces could not go.

He knew how to negotiate with Amba fighters and in the process, he would appeal to their consciences for them to spare the lives of even their worst enemies.

Archbishop Andrew Nkea has really been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts during this crisis that has resulted in the deaths of some 5,000 young Cameroonians.

His desire to save lives has taken him to distant lands such as the United States where he engaged with various Southern Cameroonian communities to raise funds for internally displaced persons and those who are living in Nigeria as refugees.

He was in Baltimore, USA, in July 2019 in a fundraiser for refugees organized by the Manyu Community in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area where thousands of dollars were raised to help those who had left their homes to seek refuge somewhere else.

Archbishop Nkea called out the government of La Republique when the military killed a Kenyan Mill Hill Missionary priest working in Kembong in Manyu Division. Like a good shepherd, he flew to Kenya and buried the priest and did all he could to console the family members of the deceased priest.

Today, unlike in French Cameroun where secret service officers kill Bishops and dump their bodies in rivers, as we saw in Bafia Diocese, the people of Southern Cameroons do not kill the clergy. The clergy is still playing a key role in efforts at finding a lasting solution to the conflict that is still consuming many innocent lives and Archishop Andrew Nkea is working day and night to ensure that peace returns to the two English-speaking regions of the country.

Ambazonians, their jailed leaders and comrades all love God and respect the Clergy. Let it remain that way. We do not kill Clergymen like La Republique du Cameroun.

Archbishop Nkea’s efforts seem to be misconstrued by Amba fighters on the ground. Some armed groups hold that he is supporting the regime and there are calls for his life and dignity to be attacked.

If Amba fighters were to attack the man of God, then that will be their greatest undoing. The international community is aware of the role Archbishop Nkea is playing and anybody who attempts to hurt such a man of God will only bring long-lasting discredit to a cause that has earned international recognition.

Amba fighters must understand that as a man of God, Archbishop Nkea must demonstrate the highest level of neutrality. He cannot be against the government which might one day see reason to use him in any future negotiations.

Targeting Archbishop Andrew Nkea might turn the tides against the fighters on the ground. If the fighters think they deserve any international sympathy, they must let Archbishop Nkea to continue his humanitarian operations so that those who have been caught in the crossfire can have access to humanitarian assistance.

Archbishop Andrew Nkea has no interest in supporting the regime. His cardinal objective is to ensure that both parties meet in a neutral place to discuss their differences so that peace can return to a country that was once touted for its peace.

Archbishop Andrew Nkea is a man of peace. He has no interest in taking sides in a conflict that should not have started. He understands the risks and the need to bring both parties to the negotiating table.

Amba fighters must always understand there must always be room for a possible negotiation and only people like Archbishop Nkea can bring about that window of opportunity and communication.

No war has ever been wrapped up in the battlefield. Even when the belligents are too powerful, they must understand that real and sustainable peace can only be gotten at the negotiating table and that can be brought about by God’s servants such as Archbishop Andrew Nkea.

Amba fighters will be crossing the reddest of the red lines if they kidnap or kill Archbishop Nkea. They will only bring the world against them and this will herald the end of a struggle that has so far enjoyed the sympathy of countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Vatican and Switzerland.

This is not the time for such mistakes. There are rules of engagement which clearly spell out that the clergy must never be a victim of violence as their role is clearly humanitarian and peace-seeking.

The Cameroon Concord News Group is therefore calling on those who control fighters in Southern Cameroons to ensure that their fighters respect the Clergy.

The fighters must understand that they cannot attack people who are working for peace just as they are not supposed to hurt United Nations workers who want to bring supplies to the suffering masses.

The world is watching and this is not the time for any expensive errors.

On behalf of the over daily twenty thousand readers of Cameroon Concord News and the Cameroon Intelligence Report, we declare that the killing of a Roman Catholic Clergy is counterproductive to the Ambazonia struggle, and should never be tolerated or allowed to happen.

We of the Concord Group call on all parties to allow Archbishop Nkea to do his work as a man of God, preaching peace and bringing relief to the suffering people of his archdiocese. We therefore unequivocally condemn the recently released audios calling for violence against Southern Cameroons Metropolitan Archbishop.

By Dr Joachim Arrey in Canada and Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai in London