3, December 2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
Deeply troubled by recent events in Cameroon, I would invite all Presbyterians to join me in praying for justice, peace, and security for the people of Cameroon.
I know that there are many in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who are painfully aware of the ongoing legacies of colonial rule in Cameroon, a modern nation created with regionally distinct French- and English-speaking communities. We have watched with alarm as initially peaceful protests by lawyers and teachers concerning the erosion of the Anglophone identity in the judicial and educational sectors were met with force. In the absence of dialogue, positions hardened and violence has intensified over the past three years with a call to create an independent nation and the formation of militias.
Since the presidential elections in October 2018, violence and armed attacks have spread from rural areas into cities such as Buea and Bamenda, regional capitals for areas that are home to the country’s Anglophone minority. At least 200 villages have been raided, and farms, hospitals, and schools have been burned and partially or entirely destroyed. Children are unable to attend school as more than 80 percent of the Presbyterian schools in Northwest and Southwest regions are not operating for the fourth year now. Presbyterian World Mission and Presbyterian Hunger Program have provided strong accompaniment to our partners in Cameroon who are caught in this crisis.
According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, roughly half a million people have been internally displaced in Cameroon, while more than 35,000 have fled across the border into neighboring Nigeria. Those displaced struggle to survive. Often, they sleep outdoors or live in makeshift shelters in forests and other remote locations. Some find temporary accommodation with friends or family members, but their presence imposes additional strains on vulnerable households with limited resources.
Humanitarian agencies, including ecumenical bodies, have been working diligently to address the underlying tensions and to provide security and relief to those displaced. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, in particular, seeks to address basic needs for food, clothing, bedding, and hygiene among those who have fled to Nigeria.
Let us pray for our sisters and brothers in Cameroon and, in particular, for those who have been forced to flee their homes. Let us remember, too, our global partners in both communities in Cameroon — the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC), the Eglise Presbytérienne Camerounaise (EPC) and RELUFA, and ecumenical bodies working in the region. May God grant them gifts of wisdom, compassion, and discernment that they may find ways, together and separately, to advance justice, peace, and reconciliation for all of Cameroon’s people. Please pray further for Cameroon’s political leaders and security personnel, that they may put aside personal interests and prejudice to provide equal protection and opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their backgrounds.
I would also invite those who feel able to do so to contribute to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s support for Cameroonian refugees through gifts to account DR000168. Please designate your gift for “Humanitarian Assistance Cameroon.”
Let us look to God, our help, our hope, and our salvation.