AFRICA/CAMEROON - "Only the Church assists victims of Boko Haram in the north of Cameroon," says a missionary

Monday, 13 October 2014

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "In the north of Cameroon there is a silent ongoing war which few people know about but has serious humanitarian consequences" says to Fides Agency Friar Fabio Mussi, a PIME missionary, at the head of Caritas Yagoua, who works in the far north of Cameroon, on the border with Nigeria and Chad, where incursions of the Nigerian group Boko Haram occur. "Only in the extreme north of Cameroon, in the province of Logone-Charie, there are 40,000 IDPs between Cameroonian and Nigerian refugees. Further south, this figure is doubled", says the missionary.
"The Cameroonian army has deployed along the border to try to prevent raids on Cameroon territory committed by members of Boko Haram in search of food. This is because the Nigerian army has caught in the grips areas controlled by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria preventing food supplies. Boko Haram, after having plundered what they could in Nigerian areas have begun to attack the Cameroonian markets".
"The PIME community has decided to remain in this critical situation with all the consequences - says Friar Mussi -.
"The Church is the only institution left to offer humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons. International organizations have withdrawn for security reasons. We, as Church in Cameroon, are sending food and preparing to dig wells in areas where the authorities have decided to build reception camps", said the missionary.
Friar Mussi asserts that "the population is afraid because it is a new situation for them. Until two years ago, Cameroon was considered an island of happiness in an unstable region. Now mistrust prevails among non-Muslims towards Muslims. This is not fair. Boko Haram does not represent all of Islam", says the missionary. "It is true, however, that different personalities of the Islamic world support Boko Haram, which is supported both within the Country and by other Countries. An organization like this needs to obtain funds that go beyond those they can obtain with kidnappings and raids. To buy ever more sophisticated weapons, it takes large amounts of money", notes the missionary.
"On the other hand - he concludes - we have several Muslim friends who help us and support us. 60% of the 7,000 students in our schools are Muslims. Their parents send them to us and say they do not want to give in to pressure from Boko Haram, whose name means 'Western education is forbidden'." (LM) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2014)