What the government saw as a threat to national security has become a religious cry for help in the Central African nation, Cameroon. The country’s head of state, Paul Biya ordered the closure of nearly 150 churches in major cities across the nation earlier this week based on his observation that criminal practices by Pentecostal pastors is a serious threat to the security of the West African nation.
To match action with words, the President is using the military to lock down all Pentecostal churches in Yaounde as well as the North West Regional headquarters, Bamenda which according to statistics contains the largest Christian population. Reports say more than 50 churches have already been shut down while 100 others are still to go.
“We will get rid of all the so-called Christian Pentecostal pastors who misuse the name of Jesus Christ to fake miracles and kill citizens in their churches. They have outstretched their liberty,” Mbu Anthony Lang, a government official in Bamenda, told CNN on Wednesday. “Nearly 500 Pentecostal churches operate in Cameroon, but fewer than 50 are legal,” he added.
In the moment of despair, Pentecostal church ministers have thrown severe criticisms over the president’s move sighting Paul Biya’s ‘insecurity’ about the churches’ massive attack of his government. The pastors in the industrial capital, Douala and N.W town, Bamenda took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the president’s decision. they also suggested the president should step down (Biya has been president since 1982).
The president however, has authorized only the Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Muslim and a few churches to carry on but the bishop of the Christian Church of God in Yaounde, Boniface Tum told CNN that the president finds the large proliferation of churches in Cameroon as a huge threat and besides, “it is a strict violation of the right to religion,”