Bishop of Mamfe in Cameroon’s restive Southwest region has reiterated the Catholic Church’s position that only dialogue was the way out of the security crisis that has riled the Anglophone regions.
In the view of Bishop Andrew Nkea, the central African nation was drifting towards a useless and senseless civil war and urgent dialogue was needed to avert that situation.
In an interview with the BBC Focus on Africa program, he recounted harrowing experiences of his visit to the region and the level of destruction that he saw.
Whiles stressing the need for talks between the warring factions, he blamed both sides for being complicit in the deadly and destructive violence that was raging.
Below is a transcript of his interview:
“You see with all the stamina I have with my faith, I couldn’t sleep when I went to Cameroon and saw the houses that had been burnt down and saw a corpse which had bee lying there for four, five days and dogs were tearing it apart.
“You come back and you can’t sleep, this was a very clear thing. You see (that) villages are being burnt down by the soldiers and the secessionist fighters are burning down schools and institutions, that is working out, so on both sides, they are doing this thing in a horrendous way.
“And that is why we are saying that there should be a middle way. We should stop killing ourselves and burning down our institutions. Whiles the boys are burning down schools and government offices, the soldiers on the other hand are burning down entire villages, this is unacceptable.
“Whoever is burning, they should stop the burning, this is what the bishops are saying. So it is time for dialogue, because the violence is too much, the killings are too much. The suffering is too much, so we think that it is time for dialogue.
“No matter what form the dialogue will take, but we think that it is time we start talking to each other and get this thing settled peacefully, get life come back to normal. But we must start talking.
“One of the main things we are stressing is that violence only breeds violence, but if we start talking to each other we may arrive at a middle point where there will be peace and that is what we want, we want a peaceful resoution to the conflict.
“… and this can only come through dialogue, some form of reconciliation, some form of discussion which will bring all the warring parties to save this country from what we call a useless and senseless civil war.”