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Anglophone crisis: Catholic Church urged to help break stalemate

The International Crisis Group (ICG), has urged the Catholic Church to mediate in the crisis in the English-speaking regions of…

The International Crisis Group (ICG), has urged the Catholic Church to mediate in the crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, where separatists and security forces are embroiled in a dangerous conflict.

The crisis which blew out in 2016 with lawyers and teachers going on the streets has since left several Cameroonians dead. According to the ICG, the church could help break this dangerous stalemate.

“The Catholic Church could help break this dangerous stalemate,” the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report.

“Other than the Catholic clergy, there are few prospective peacemakers,” it said. “If no-one fills that role, the separatist sentiment already voiced by many Anglophones will continue to grow, fuelling further violence and exacerbating the on-going insurgency in the Anglophone regions, with elections in late 2018 a flashpoint.”

To the ICG, the church could help by stating “its impartiality” on the big question facing Anglophone regions – federalism versus decentralisation.

“A clergy able to project a position of neutrality could work with other trusted actors to mediate between Anglophone leaders and the state and stem a dangerous and growing crisis,” it said.

The Church is one of Cameroon’s strongest institutions, as it is present in all of the country’s 10 regions and nearly a third of the population is Catholic, the report said.

The ICG however cautioned that the Church also had to overcome its own divisions between French- and English-speaking clergy.

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