By Hans Ngala, Monday Oct. 16, 2017
Southern Cameroons Journal, Bamenda – Requiem masses took place Sunday October 15 across the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon in memory of slain Anglophones by gov’t forces.
The services took place summoned by Catholic bishops under the auspices of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) who had initiated the special services barely two days after the shooting to death of more than 100 Southern Cameroonians who had taken to the streets to celebrate the independence of the former British Southern Cameroons (the name the territory had prior to its unification with French Cameroon).
The memorial services were holding just twenty-four hours after Amnesty International released a report saying up to 500 Anglophones had been detained following the “celebrations” of October 1. This number will add to nearly a hundred more who were not released August 30 when long-term president, Paul Biya granted presidential pardon to Anglophones who had been arrested earlier in the now one year, and continuing protests.
Some have been charged with secession, others with not possessing identity papers, destruction of public property and failing to respect an order by the governor banning protests and other public activities.
“This mass arrest of protesters, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights, but is also likely to be counter-productive,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty’s Lake Chad region researcher.
The SCJournal spoke with a Christian at Ngarum Catholic Church where Christians gathered at about 10:00 am for the mass. Others also gathered in Buea, Kumbo, Kumba, Nkambe etc.
All across the different congregations, the message was the same, human life is sacred and because no man can give life to another, no one should take that of another.
The masses got emotional in all churches as one or two had either lost a loved one or didn’t know the whereabouts of others. As the priests delivered their homilies, most women could not hold back their tears and the masses got very emotional.
October 15, the more than 1.000 Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) congregations will be following in the steps of their Catholic brethren to mourn those killed so far in the on-going crisis. The CBC’s Executive President, Rev.Dr. Ncham Goodwill called on all CBC Christians to don black outfits as a sign of solidarity with bereaved families and pastors are also called upon to tailor their sermons to meet with the worrying situation on the ground.