Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Mamfe diocese in the South West Region of Cameroon has for some time now been facing enormous challenges.
Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya of the Mamfe diocese says rising insecurity has displaced many in his diocese. Since 2016, thousands from his diocese have fled to Nigeria as refugees while others have been displaced internally.
In an exclusive interview granted ACI Africa, Bishop Andrew Nkea confirms that nine out of sixteen parishes closed earlier have been re- opened. As to why he shut down the parishes, he said insecurity had caused many Christians to flee and thus he had to withdraw the priests for safety.
He recalled how a Kenyan- born father Cosmos Omboto Ondari was shot dead on the 21st of November 2018.
For two years, Bishop Andrew Nkea says he has not carried out ‘effective pastoral activities because of insecurity’.
With insecurity still thriving, Bishop Nkea noted ” we have adopted a method of using Radio Evangelium (a diocesan radio in Mamfe) to preach the gospel to many people that cannot attend mass because of insecurity. We broadcast sunday mass live on the radio and rebroadcast it several times to satisfy Christians trapped by insecurity either in their homes or in bushes.”
The Bishop adds that “the church is still in Mamfe diocese to give hope to the people ”
In the domain of education “Catholic schools in Mamfe town are operating despite the threats”, Bishop Nkea disclosed. He pointed out that Saint Joseph primary school has over 500 pupils. In other areas, schools have been completely shutdown.
He has lamented that children have been deprived of their fundamental right of education in the course of the socio -political conflict.
According to UNICEF 600,000 children have been denied access to education in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon with over 80% of schools shutdown as a result of the crisis.
Besides caring for the spiritual satisfaction of the people of Mamfe diocese, Bishop Andrew Nkea says they are equally caring for the material needs of internally displaced persons and refugees from the diocese.
On several occasions, the Catholic Church in Mamfe has taken food stuff and medical assistance to Ogoja refugee camp in Cross River State in the federal Republic of Nigeria that hosts people from Mamfe diocese.
“This is a heavy financial burden on the church in the midst of total insecurity “,he adds.
The church with minimal level of security at the moment, the bishop says calls on Christians and other people to come back to their villages.
Mimi Mefo Info.