Just two months after Bible translator Angus Fung was killed by suspected Fulani militants in Northern Cameroon, another man involved in evangelism has been murdered.
Benjamin Tem, who had been working as part of the same translation project as Fung, was killed in an attack that took place on Sunday.
Northern Cameroon has been plagued with violence between the Anglophone community and the central government. Though the country is bilingual, certain sectors of the English-speaking population are insistent that they are being discriminated against, particularly when it comes to representation in government.
While security forces were able to suppress protests that erupted back in 2016, an English-speaking armed separatist group has since emerged. The resulting conflict between government forces, their allied militants and the separatists has caused the deaths of 2000 civilians and over half a million have fled their homes.
International Christian Concern, a leading D.C.-based persecution watchdog, said that it was possible the attack was perpetrated by Fulani militants who had been ordered by the government to attack people who were helping the separatists.
Speaking to Faithwire, ICC’s Middle East Rgional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, explained that “it is possible that this case maybe persecution-related, it is more likely that it is actually tied to the civil strife in the country,” and confirmed the suspicion of government involvement.
“The locals have also claimed that the Cameroonian government has hired or instructed these attackers to hurt those who are supporting the separatists,” Johnson explained. “This means that the locals also believe that these attacks are tied to the civil strife. It is unclear if these rumors are true, however.”
“Whether or not the Cameroonian government is strictly complicit in these attacks does not take away their responsibility to protect their own people. If they have asked for these attacks, then they are complicit and must be held accountable by their own people and the rest of the world. If they have not called for these attacks, then they are failing to stop large scale attacks on their own land and people. This is not complicity, but more of incompetence or lack of care. Again, this must be addressed and stopped.”
On Sunday, a priest in charge of several Catholic charities in the region was arrested by police, sparking outrage from the faith community. Father Paul Njokikang was detained after celebrating Mass in Mbinfibe, near Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s North West region, according to Crux.
“No reason as yet has been advanced for his arrest,” Archdiocese of Bamenda auxiliary Bishop Michael Bibi told the outlet. “It is only when Father will be released that we will get to know why he was arrested.”
In October last year, an American missionary was shot dead shortly after he arrived in the country along with his wife and kids. Charles Wesco was killed when a volley of gunfire struck his car windshield as he traveled to a local store with his wife.
His brother is Indiana state representative, Tim Wesco, holding the position 21st District since 2010. Upon his election, Tim was just 25-years-old and the youngest member of the Indiana House.