Tag Archives: Pontifex

Cameroon mayor on errand killed

In Cameroon the attack on the mayor’s convoy happened as he was travelling from Mamfe to the nearby village of Eshobi, state broadcaster CRTV said.

Ashu Priestley Ojong, mayor of Mamfe, approximately 500km (300 miles) from the capital Yaounde, was killed by the “terrorist secessionists” on May 10 in the morning, Bernard Okalia Bilai said in a statement on May 11.

The convoy travelled there after receiving a tip-off that some rebels would be laying down their arms, the report said.

Ojong is among a few senior elected officials killed in the conflict between Cameroon’s army and the English-speaking militias. He was elected in February in legislative and municipal polls the separatist rebels insisted to be boycotted.

English speakers are the liguistic minority, and represent one-fifth of the 24 million Cameroonians, who are mainly French-speaking.

The conflict began after the government cracked down violently on Enlgish-speakers peaceful protests by lawyers and teachers in 2016 who complained of marginalisation by the French-speaking majority.

Years of neglected grievances produced a declaration of independence in the Anglophone regions in October 2017, which was followed by a government crackdown.

The declaration has not been recognised internationally and President Paul Biya (87),in power for almost four decades, has definitely refused demands to return to a federal system.

However, the government has lately decentralised some of its powers after a “national dialogue” on the anglophone crisis which was nevertheless boycotted by the separatists.

Human Rights groups have accused both sides of atrocities in the conflict, which has left more than 3,000 dead, 700,000 displaced, and severe disruption in health and education systems.

Urbi et Orbi: Pontifex preys for Africa

Africa, in particular South Sudan and the problems of migration to Europe, have been at the heart of Pope Francis’ urbi et orbi message this Christmas 2019.

The situqtion in South Sudan has given rise to a new initiative with the broadcast, on the morning of December 25, of an international appeal notably co-signed by Pope Francis, Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican communion.

“We wish to formulate for you, they write, and for the people of South Sudan, our best wishes for peace and prosperity, by assuring you of our proximity to your efforts for the rapid implementation of the peace agreements”. They also ask that “the way of reconciliation and fraternity” be able to “make possible our desired visit to your dear country”.

Last November 13, Justin Welby and François had publicly expressed their desire to go to South Sudan together in 2020 if the political situation, which should lead to the establishment of a transitional government of national unity, allowed it.

Pontifex expressed closeness to people of Africa who are often forced to migrate because of persistent unjust social and political situations.

“May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life. It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps. It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference.

In particular Pope Francis mentioned the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “torn by continuing conflicts.”

May the Redeemer, he said, “bring consolation to all who suffer because of violence, natural disasters or outbreaks of disease. And may He bring comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”

Pope for aid to migrants in Libya

Pope Francis has appealed for the evacuation of women, children and sick migrants trapped in Libyan detention centers as soon as possible, through humanitarian corridors.

During his Regina Coeli prayer, the Pontiff said the refugees’ situation, “which is already very serious, has become even more dangerous due to the ongoing conflict.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his concern with the conditions of illegal migrants in Libyan detention centers, including those who are sent back after trying to reach Europe by sea. There were also circulating rumors of pro- Fayez Al-Sarraj  militias in Tripoli force the migrants to defend the city, the clams UN-backed government denied.

Pontifex hopes for “dignified life” in Africa

Pope Francis made traditional address “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world – from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to believers in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

“We invoke on this day fruits of hope for those who yearn for a more dignified life, above all in those areas of the African continent deeply affected by hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism. May the peace of the risen Lord heal wounds in South Sudan and open hearts to dialogue and mutual understanding. Let us not forget the victims of that conflict, especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living” – Pontifex said.

The day before, Pontifex baptized a Nigerian beggar who came to public eye for his good deed, helping to catch a thief in Italian streets.