SUICIDE BOMBER AND GUNMEN ATTACK VILLAGE IN CAMEROON
On 8 January, an attack attributed to the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, killed at least 12 people in the northern Cameroonian village of Mozogo. Boko Haram fighters reportedly raided the village, firing sporadically, forcing many residents to flee into a park where a suicide bomber in their midst detonated an explosive device. Sources could not confirm whether the young female bomber was a willing participant or if she had been forced to carry out the attack. This is just the latest of many attacks attributed to Boko Haram since the group rose to prominence in Cameroon in 2015. Boko Haram has fought to create a caliphate in Northeast Nigeria for over a decade and capitalised on the ongoing Anglophone crisis in neighbouring Cameroon to extend their influence in the region. Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon created a joint coalition to deal with Boko Haram’s growing influence, however, little progress has been made. Porous borders have facilitated weapons trafficking and the coordination of cross-border attacks. The group’s membership and influence has grown to equal, if not exceed, its peak in 2014-2015. According to the United Nations (UN), violence committed by Boko Haram has affected some 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others.
From a Christian perspective, Cameroon is regarded as a Christian-majority nation, with an estimated 69% of the population professing to be Christian (according to the Joshua Project). Most of the nation’s Christians live in the Southern and Western regions, while Islam – and militant Islamist groups – are more dominant in the North. While several religious groups have lived peacefully side-by-side for many years, violent insurgent attacks in the north have increased religious tensions. According to the Institute for Security Studies, since the colonisation period, militant Islam has been seen as a threat to Cameroonian society, leading the European, and post-independence governments to employ policies to “pacify, coerce and integrate Muslims into the nation-building project”, to maintain religious harmony. However, social, and economic disparities among regions of Cameroon, coupled with the insurgency in neighbouring countries, have increased the number of recruits for groups such as Boko Haram.
Pray with us for the following:
- For more effective deployment of the Coalition personnel and resources
- For Cameroonian Christians to be used by the Lord to reach their non-believing neighbours with His message of hope and peace
- For the global Church not to become “immune” to the cries of those impacted by the ongoing crisis in the Lake Chad Basin
Image: Daily Post