Cameroon, formed by an amalgam of former French and British colonies, has a Christian population of around 70% with Muslims comprising 20% (mainly in the Far North). Despite political tensions between the northern Francophone region and the smaller Anglophone region in the south-west, Cameroon has enjoyed relative stability since gaining independence in 1960.
Conflict between religious groups is rare in most of the country. However, in the Far North, which borders Boko Haram’s base in north-eastern Nigeria, rural Christian communities are routinely subjected to Islamist violence. For example, two Boko Haram suicide bombers blew themselves up and killed seven people, including the village chief and two teenage boys, on 5 April 2020 in the small border town of Amchide. This town, which is majority Christian,
has been attacked many times by
Attacks by the Nigerian Islamist group have increased since 2014, with gangs of up to 300 militants laying waste to Christian villages, devastating crops and killing livestock. Eyewitness accounts of attacks describe heavily armed militants encircling Christian villages, shouting throughout the night as they kill, loot and burn. With food, clothing and livelihoods taken, the defenceless Christians had nothing left but “only eyes to cry” said one Cameroonian Christian.
The UN estimates that more than 170,000 Cameroonians, mainly Christians, have been forced to flee their homes; others “hide out” in the hills, or travel to a town, for safety at night rather than stay in their beds. In August 2020, Boko Haram militants descended on a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Nguetchewe village and killed at least 18 Christians as they slept; some bodies were found dismembered.
Ask the Lord to strengthen Cameroonian Christians suffering severe persecution. Pray that their attackers will turn from violence. Ask that displaced families will be safe in the towns they have fled to and the bereaved, especially widows and orphans, will be comforted.