The Bishop of Kumbo, His Lordship George Nkuo paid a visit to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception’s Parish, Kikaikelaki on Sunday, 26 May 2019, Sixth Sunday of Easter.
The prelate was bearer of a message of encouragement and hope to the people of the area, who have had their share of pain and trouble from Cameroon’s defence forces and pro-independence fighters in the on-going armed conflict in the conflict-hit North West and South West Regions.
The Bishop celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Mission, Kikaikelaki, from where he moved – partly on motorbike, partly on foot – to St Peter’s Mission, Yeeh for another celebration.
His speech aimed at putting smiles on the faces of the afflicted people hit by the ongoing war.
« The Bishop spoke of joy and God’s consolation to the faithful who had gathered. The atmosphere was totally different from that of the previous Sunday, on which the tintinnabulation of the Church bells had been drowned by deafening gunshots from automatic rifles. The faces of the remnants of Kikaikelaki wore smiles that spoke of the presence of a messenger of God. The Bishop encouraged them not to lose hope for a more peaceful world and a better tomorrow. His presence likewise encouraged the clergy in the parish, who have stood by the people in the midst of the crisis ».
Wrote the Evangelium Radio in Kumbo after the humanitarian mission.
While in Yeeh, the Bishop remained steadfast to the social works of the Catholic Church. He paid a visit to (palm) bushes, where some people had lived in huts for over three months, without basic provisions. The people had fled their neighbourhoods either as a result of their homes having been burned/destroyed by Cameroon’s military, or for safety reasons due to random gun battles between them and the pro-independence fighters, or various forms of harassment. The people were from the localities of Mendzen, Kikaikelaki, Ntonghie and Bamkika’ay.
Upon his return from the bushes, he blessed those who had gathered there and announced some good news. He said: « I have got a new, safe and dignifying home for those who had been in the bushes to live in ».
He presented material gifts of mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, cartons of soap, plates, buckets, sanitary pads for women, as well as foodstuff such as rice and vegetable oil among other items. Beds would still be made for these people he was pulling out of the bushes.
Earlier in March 2019, he had accompanied His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi to go up to Kikaikelaki – the place of origin of the latter. They had been stopped along the way by the pro-independence fighters, and had had to make a U-turn. It was the first time since he ever became Bishop in 1979, that the Cardinal had visited Kumbo for his usual rest, and was unable to celebrate the Eucharist in his native Kikaikelaki.
The Diocese of Kumbo, under the leadership of Msgr Nkuo, has been reaching out to those affected by the armed conflict in the area. The Diocese has been putting together local contributions, alongside support from her partners such as as MISEREOR (the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation) and the Diocese of Limburg in Germany. It has also made use of donations from some groups and individuals.
The outreach relief programme, from which many communities such as Kikaikelaki have benefitted, has comprised offering food and other material items, provision of health services (medical consultations and medication) and psychosocial support, especially group counselling. In a statement at the close of March 2019, the diocese indicated that they were open to receive donations that support the project.
A move was made in April 2019 to offer similar assistance to those who had moved out of the diocese to other places. A census was carried out in many places, but at the time of this report, only those in Bamenda had benefitted.
Mimi Mefo Info