In a letter sent on 30 October, the Ecumenical Forum on the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon issued “A Passionate Call” to the president of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, to address current security, humanitarian, and human rights challenges in Cameroon.
Biya has declared 31 October a day of national mourning for victims of an attack on the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba on 24 October.
“This day of mourning is an opportunity to give expression to the shock, grief and trauma, to comfort people in fear, to encourage those whose belief in peace and justice has been shaken by the violence in the Anglophone provinces, and to assure the nation that there is hope that the conflict can be resolved and people will once again be able to live in security and without fear,” reads the letter. “The killing of the school children in Kumba should be a compelling wake-up call.”
A further spiraling of violence must be prevented by all means, the letter urges. “Trust and confidence have been shattered by the Kumba attack and must be rebuilt,” the letter reads. “An independent investigation into what happened at the Mother Francisca Academy will be an essential step to ensure that those responsible will face justice, to serve as a deterrent to others, and to rebuild confidence in the rule of law in Cameroon.”
The letter calls upon the government of Cameroon and the armed secessionist fighters to protect the schools and to end atrocities against innocent children. “The army and the police should embrace a culture of civility while carrying out their mandates with full respect for the dignity and rights of every person in Cameroon,” reads the letter. “The brutality we have witnessed in recent times must be resolutely rejected.”
The Ecumenical Forum appealed for renewed efforts for a comprehensive and more inclusive dialogue to address the current security, humanitarian, and human rights challenges in the affected regions.
“We call upon the religious leaders of Cameroon to remain committed in their active engagements for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon and for the wellbeing of the country,” the letter concludes. "The Ecumenical Forum stands in solidarity with and offers its support and accompaniment to the churches and all stakeholders in Cameroon as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, peace and human dignity and rights.”