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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora