News / Africa

Christian Pastors in Cameroon Decry Crackdown

A woman sings during a prayer session at the Saint Francis Xavier parish in Yaounde, Cameroon, in this March 17, 2009 file photo.
A woman sings during a prayer session at the Saint Francis Xavier parish in Yaounde, Cameroon, in this March 17, 2009 file photo.
Thousands of Christians in Cameroon no longer have places to worship as the government continues to crack down on illegal churches for what it says are activities that have nothing to do with preaching the word of God. But pastors of these churches said they are being targeted because they criticize the government of President Paul Biya, who has been in power for more than 30 years.

Frustrated Christians pray in front of  their sealed house of worship in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, saying the government of Cameroon persecutes children of God.

Adressing his Christians with a loud speaker, Reverend Pastor Elie Pierre said they will continue to pray for God to touch the hearts of the police that sealed their church door last Friday.

"We have the right to defend ourselves," he said.  

He said persecution will fortify the Church, but then said this is not good news for Cameroon.   He said when the state accuses somebody of something, you have to listen to him at least.

Reverend Theres Nchanji, pastor of the Holy Ghost Zone church that had been sealed for three months, is assisting pastors of other sealed churches in prayers. She said God will be the one to judge those who persecute His children. “No state can do without a Church and the Bible says whosoever calls the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. The Bible says that our weapons are not carnal, they are spiritual.  When the devil attacked Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus said it is written, he never picked a stone to face the devil,” Sshe stated.

Even as the thousands of Christians staged a peaceful march, the government of Cameroon announced more church closings over state radio.

The announcer said the Prefect for Yaounde has decided to close the Christian Community church because it carries out activities that are a menace to public order and it says police are called upon to execute this order.  

The Cameroonian government has indicated more churches will be closed for not preaching the word of God and for carrying out activities that threaten social peace.

Jean Paul Tsanga, the divisional officer for Yaounde three Sub Division who is closing the churches, rejects allegations that they are cracking down on Christian denominations that have been critical of President Paul Biya.

He said most of those churches refuse to respect the laws of Cameroon.  He said that creates many problems and causes disorder.  He said the churches separate families,  but that there are forces of law and order in Cameroon to stop them. 

Some Cameroonians like Ngwana Jean Paul, who watched the protest, generally agree with the government's decision to seal the churches.  Paul said his family was a victim of overzealous pastors.

He said his sister was HIV positive. Instead of going to the hospital, he said, his family took his sister to churches that claim they can lay hands (offer prayers) to heal you.  He said his sister went there and died.

Another observer, 40-year-old Fouda Jacques, is also happy with the decision to close the churches.

He said the state is right to close those churches because they do lots of bad things and some are there just to exploit and make people poorer.

Cameroon is a secular state with freedom of religion in the constitution.   

The government said it is justified in taking action.  It has now shut down 15 pentecostal church denominations in Yaounde and the North West Regional Capital, Bamenda, with plans to close more.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fankem from: Bafoussam
August 21, 2013 4:48 AM
When the law is not respected sanctions should follow. This church issue has become a business to most pastors and they fool their followers with fake miracles and brainwash them. There is so much anarchy in this domain that it is difficult to know those who are actually serving God and those who serve their interests. More so, there is big question of legality; most of these churches have no authorizations and operate clandestinely.


by: Marius Nji from: Bamenda
August 21, 2013 4:41 AM
Predator Drone, you are very far from the point and just expressing your frustrations and hatred for the Cameroonian government. It is a problem of malpractices and authorization. Some pastors commit lots of atrocities and cause havoc in the society and it was imperative that these churches be closed and more to that many of these churches have no authorizations to function.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid