Yaoundé, Cameroon, Feb 17, 2020 / 18:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Bishops from around the world have signed an open letter to the Cameroonian president asking that he participate in proposed peace talks meant to bring an end to conflict between the government and Anglophone separatists.
“We are motivated by our concern about the suffering of unarmed civilians, and the stability and prosperity of Cameroon,” 16 bishops from outside Cameroon wrote in a Feb. 17 letter coordinated by the Global Campaign for Peace and Justice in Cameroon. Bishop Thomas Zinkula of Davenport was among the signatories.
“We believe the proposed Swiss-led talks offer the best path to an appropriate political solution through inclusive negotiations,” the bishops continued. “The success of these talks will be critical in Cameroon’s journey towards ensuring peace and your legacy as an effective leader in a troubled region. It is our sincere hope that all interested stakeholders will join these talks and show a spirit of cooperation, pragmatism, and realism to ensure these negotiations succeed.”
They added that “only true peace will allow Catholic dioceses, clinics, and schools to once again minister safely to the blessed congregants and citizens of Anglophone Cameroon.”
The Cameroon crisis is rooted in conflict between the English- and French-speaking areas of Cameroon. Unrest has been ongoing since 2016, when the country’s Anglophone community began protests to demand the return of federalism after the government increased the use of French in schools and courts.