On 20 January, Canada accepted a mandate to facilitate a process to reach a comprehensive, peaceful, and political resolution of the conflict in Cameroon.
On 22 January, Cameroonian religious leaders welcomed the Canadian statement as “a major step towards a true, sustainable, and lasting peace.”
The statement of the church leaders reads: “This has been our prayer and we are thankful to God that a hopeful corridor is beginning to open for inclusive dialogue that should usher in a peaceful resolution of the distressful socio-political crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.”
The religious leaders appealed to all stakeholders to be honest, God-fearing, sincere, and humble. “It is our hope and prayer that all of the parties will keep aside their personal and/or political or other exclusive interests, but will sincerely and determinedly work for the common good, inspired by truth, justice, love, and equity,” their message reads. “Pride, might, power, and egoism should give way to humility, service, and altruistic love for the people of our country, especially the suffering masses within the conflict zones.”
The church leaders also appealed for the immediate cessation of violence. “As we heartily welcome this announcement of a peace process, it is undeniable that violence is still a reality in two affected regions,” the message reads. “Killings, kidnappings, road blocks, lack of free circulation, intimidation, and abuse of human rights are still rife and the population is still subjected to a lot of fear and insecurity by various forces.”
Their statement also appeals to the international community to show interest in this crisis. “We appeal and pray that all of us should be positive and be pro-peace in this process till we attain it.”
However, a statement from the Cameroonian government issued on 23 January states that it “has not entrusted any foreign country or external entity with any role of mediator or facilitator” to settle the crisis.
In the statement, the government firmly condemns the deadly attacks and destruction certain terrorist groups continue to perpetrate, and once again urges members of the armed groups to seize the peace offer suggested by the Cameroon president Paul Biya.