More than 45 innocent civilians have been executed by French Cameroun soldiers in the past 10 days in the anglophone region according to the BBC. With a message of peace as Cardinal Pietro Parolin says he was bringing, the killings at the same time that he was presiding over a coronation mass in Bamenda shows how worthless the French Cameroun colonial authorities take the Vatican’s Secretary of State’s visit . At the Catholic heartland of Kumbo, three innocent civilians were pulled out of their homes and executed by the Biya colonial armies at the village of Ntse on 31 January, 2021. While a cross section of the prelates were singing God’s praises as the embodiment of peace in Bamenda, other priests in Ntse Kumbo were praying for the repose of the souls of the Catholic Christians pulled out of their homes and murdered by French Cameroun soldiers. The killings once more show that prayers alone can’t save human life and suffering in anglophone Cameroon. The more than 45 killed in the last 10 days have been children and women, pulled out of their homes and shot point blank. The Catholic church is still to issue a condemnation.
The general sentiment in the population is that the church is increasingly being seen as a party to the genocide taking place n the territory since 2016. ” How many have they buried and how many more does the pope want us to bury?” A woman questions. “How can Bishop Nkea and Cardinal Pietro be sharing the same stage with those who have deprived us of our children? These people are worst than Hitler.” A woman whose son alongside three others killed and dumped in Bambui a day before Pietro’s visit questions. “We need justice not prayers. These people (referring to the majority French-speaking Camerounians, don’t see us as humans. We are their guinea pigs. They break into our homes pull us out and shoot us daily.” She laments. “The pope with his influence should press for a genuine dialogue, because we are different from these people. We know our history. It is not killing people indiscriminately.” The mourning teacher concludes.
While the visit of the pope’s emissary in French Cameroun was a civil occasion, in the anglophone regions, it was transformed into a military parade, with civilians no where to be found. “Is that how we received Pope John Paul II here?” An old disillusioned Catholic Christian questions. “Go and tell the bishop to tell the Pope that, we are tired of burying our children.” He directs. The conflict which is now in its 5th year has seen the destruction of more than 400 villages by the French Cameroun soldiers who are now called colonial forces by the anglophones. Schools have been shut down but for some in the towns. About 100,000 are in Nigeria as refugees, with close to a million internally displaced. Recently another Catholic prelate – Retired Cardinal Tumi, claim without evidence that the Anglophone restoration forces are Nigerians. Many interpret the assertion as an endorsement of more killings as the majority French Cameroun authorities prior to the conflict label the anglophones as Nigerians and dogs – worthy of extinction. More than 24000 have been killed since 2016. “All the pope can do is to rally the world to come and investigate these killings for reconciliation to prevail.” An anonymous Catholic authority quips. Many Catholic priests have also been killed by the French Cameroun soldiers in the conflict.