World Watch List: 48
Leader: Paul Biya President
Main Religion: Christianity
Government: Unitary dominant-party presidential constitutional republic
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the church in Cameroon through:
- Equipping and training
- Socio-economic development projects
- Caring for new believers
- Emergency relief
”What happened leaves us speechless. Why do peaceful people working for the wellbeing of the population get kidnapped?”
– Father Henri Djonyang, Vicar General of the Diocese of Maroua, after a nun and two priests were kidnapped in Cameroon
Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Religious nationalism
Boko Haram’s new battlefield
Cameroon has entered the World Watch List for the first time this year. In recent years Nigeria-based militant Islamist group Boko Haram has waged a series of attacks in northern Cameroon. They kill Christians indiscriminately, destroy churches and civilian property, and abduct women and children. Thousands of Christians have been displaced from their homes because of the violence. It is dangerous to be found with a Bible in one’s possession, so some believers choose to leave their Bibles in the church.
Forced to marry, forced to divorce
A Christian-majority nation, Cameroon has a large Muslim minority living mainly in the north of the country. Society there is gradually becoming radicalised. On top of the dangers presented by Boko Haram, believers from a Muslim background also experience severe persecution from their families and communities. Female converts may be forced to marry Muslims or abducted by Boko Haram. Children of Christian parents may be forced to attend Islamic classes. Some believers have also been forced to divorce and leave their children.
The violence numbers
In the WWL2020 reporting period, 10 Christians were killed, 1,111 were attacked, and 15 churches and 316 Christian-owned property destroyed. Most of the attacks were committed by Boko Haram.
- For those who have been displaced from their homes because of the violence by Boko Haram. Pray that they will have all that they need, and trust in God for their future.
- For female converts who were either forced to marry Muslims, and made to divorce their husbands and leave their children. Pray that they’ll find strength in God and experience His comforting presence.
- That pastors and church leaders will have the wisdom to know how to encourage and support their churches in the midst of such violence and hostility against them.