Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - At least seven people were killed in several clashes between separatist demonstrators and security forces in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, where yesterday, Sunday 1 October, the independence of what was called Ambazonia was symbolically declared. Clashes occurred both in the southwest and in the northwest of the Country, where the government decreed the curfew and deployed nearly a thousand security agents. Separatists chose the date of 1 October in memory of the independence of the English-speaking area from the United Kingdom in 1961. The French-speaking part had become independent from France in 1960. A referendum then established the creation of a single bilingual State (see Fides 9/3/2017).
On the eve of the demonstrations (see Fides 30/9/2017), the Episcopal "Justice and Peace" Commission published a statement expressing the indignation of the Church "due to the persistence of the Anglophone crisis, the dimension of the movement on 22nd September 2017 (day when the protests organized to ask for the secession began, ndr.) and the project of proclamation for the independence of the northwest and southwest regions". "Justice and Peace" renews the appeal of the Church "to all the protagonists of the crisis, to seek peace through dialogue in the light of truth".
The statement criticizes the government for failing to handle the crisis and calls it "to recognize the limits and errors in the application of the national construction process" and to start the administrative decentralization.
The secessionists' protests arise from the demand of the inhabitants of the Anglophone regions to use English in teaching and administrative activities, and to adopt the Common Law system of British origin instead of the law based on the French code. Underlining that it is not the task of the Church to define the form of the State, "Justice and Peace" calls for the decentralization to be applied in order to meet the demands of the Anglophone regions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/10/2017)