The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) have expressed their concern for the increasingly violent situation in Cameroon, West Africa.
In ‘Let’s Pray’, PCI’s daily prayer points, the Church is focusing on the situation in Republic of Cameroon in West Africa. Violent clashes, with increasing loss of life, is growing between Cameroon’s English-speaking Anglophone community and French-speaking Francophone community.
Rev Uel Marrs, Secretary to PCI’s Council for Global Mission, explained,
“Through reports coming via family contacts of Cameroonians who attend Presbyterian churches in the Republic of Ireland, we understand that thousands of people have been displaced as the situation in parts of the country deteriorates, particularly in the Northwest Region and Southwest Region.
The increasingly violent situation has its origins in the division of the region during various colonial administrations and post-independence settlements. The situation is amounting to a ‘silent civil war’ as some have described it and has the potential to be a second Rwanda. Today we wanted to highlight the situation in the country and ask people to pray,” he said.
“Prayer is an essential and powerful part of the Christian life and we are asking people to pray specifically for peace and calm in all areas of Cameroon and for tensions to decrease. For just and fair treatment of all people by the authorities and prayer for help and support for those affected by the violence.”
Speaking about the situation, Rev Alan Boal, minister of Abbey Presbyterian Church in Dublin, who has a number of people attending his Church with family members in the country said,
“One member of my congregation recently described the escalating crisis taking place in his region like this, he said that it was ‘a second Rwanda’.
We have about a dozen Cameroonians in Abbey, mostly English speaking, but some French speaking as well and I have met with a number of them to discuss the situation.
From what I hear there are government curfews, reports of the gassing and burning of groups of villagers, the destruction of villages and summary executions. Two families report that their villages have been emptied and destroyed. In one place, men and boys between the ages of 15 and 50 have left towns and villages in fear of their lives, while women and children prefer to camp out underneath trees rather than risk attack at night.
These political situations are of course more complex, and our own history shows us that here in Ireland. Prayer for all of our Cameroonian brothers and sisters and the country is of course vital, but there must also be action. It can’t be right for the international community to be so silent.”
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