YAOUNDE – Cameroon observed a day of national mourning Sunday, with the central African state’s flag flying at half-staff and millions of people taking to the streets, mosques, and churches to condemn barbarism and killing. People are also asking for investigations to be opened and for suspected killers and those promoting the separatist crisis that has killed 3,000 people in four years to face justice.
Oumarou Mallam Djibril, a Muslim cleric, leads prayers at an ecumenical service at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. Among the nearly 1,000 civilians who have come out to observe the day of national mourning is 40-year-old Catholic, Stephen Ngwa.
Ngwa says his younger sister’s daughter was killed when gunmen attacked a school in the English-speaking southwestern town of Kumba on October 24. He says the pain inflicted on innocent citizens by the separatist conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions is unbearable.
“These acts of barbarism should not continue again,” he said. “I want to use this opportunity to once more plead with boys and girls who are carrying guns in the North West and South West to drop their guns, for we are tired. This is not our portion.”
Choir members in OK? Yaoundé, besides praying for the killed children, asked God to bring peace back to Cameroon’s English-speaking regions.
The government, along with Cameroon’s Ecumenical Service for Peace, mosques, and Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches reported that similar services took place all over the country.
The military held ceremonies in memory of the slain children. Radio and TV stations broadcast special programs in their memory.
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