Christian and Moslem leaders in the Northwest and Southwest regions have embraced Canada’s announcement — about a an impending dialogue between the Cameroon government and separatist leaders to resolve the conflict in the two English-speaking regions.
Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican Church, and the imams of Buea and Bamenda central Mosques penned their views about the dialogue process in a release dated January 22.
On Friday January 20, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Jolie, announced that the country had welcomed the agreement by Cameroon Government and Ambazonia leaders to end the six-year Anglophone Crisis that is estimated to have killed 6,000 people.
The religious leaders said the Canadian Minister’s statement is “a major step towards the search for true, sustainable, and lasting peace in these two regions.”
They added: “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.”
In their seven-point agenda, they also enjoined parties in the dialogue to remain “honest, God-fearing, sincere , humble, and patriotic throughout the announced peace process,” adding that they should wade off political and personal interests and work for the good of the masses.
The religious leaders’ statement came just when the Cameroon government distanced itself from the Canada peace talks.
Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, said in a release on Monday that the government is resolving the crisis internally and has not delegated any mediator or facilitator to help resolve the crisis.
The Minister added that the government is implementing recommendations from a 2019 Major National Dialogue, which it believes will resolve the crisis.
Cameroon’s religious leaders have often urged the government to dialogue with Ambazonia separatists in the country’s Anglophone Regions but these calls have not been heeded.
Commenting on the Canadian dialogue process, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, lauded the initiative as a means to lasting peace in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest Regions.
In January 2021, the Pope dispatched Cardinal Pietro Parolin, a high level Vatican diplomat, to Bamenda where he reiterated the church’s willingness to mediate in a dialogue between the government and separatists.
But the Cameroon government rejected it.
By Tata Mbunwe