Christians and Muslims in Cameroon are working together in the fight against Boko Haram. Christians are guarding mosques at the time of prayer and Muslims are returning the favour by guarding churches, reported Voice of America (VOA).
The extremist group has turned to attacking mosques along with churches, markets and schools in the country which has united Cameroonians to fight, what they consider, a common enemy.
The Nigerian militant Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, has been operating since 2002. The official name translates to “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” – whilst initially they concentrated on opposing Western education they have more recently focused on their political agenda; creating an Islamic state. It wasn’t until 2009 that the group began using military operations and in 2013 they were officially labeled a terrorist group by the United States. They are known to recruit poor Muslim families and use children for military campaigns. In December last year the group stated that they began attacking Cameroon in order to create an Islamic state, reported Deutsche Welle (DW).
Joseph Klofou of the Protestant Church of Cameroon, speaking to DW said that he and his church decided guard mosques in order to protect those who go to pray.
“I feel frustrated seeing my brothers and sisters dying. I must act while praying to God to send his angels and warriors to fight Boko Haram because he is the merciful God of armies,” Klofou stated.
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakari, congratulated and encouraged Muslims and Christians in the area who have chosen to work together and help protect each other.
“We have applauded this initiative in which Muslims stand guard over Churches and Christians stand guard over mosques. We condemn the actions of Boko Haram and ask Cameroonians to all fight them.
“And we extend our condolences to families that lost their loved ones,” Bakari said.
According to Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the country’s minister of communication and the government’s spokesperson, thus far Boko Haram has carried out 315 in the northern region of the country, as well as 32 suicide bombings. 1,098 civilians, 67 Cameroonian soldiers and three police officials have been killed due to the attacks carried out by Boko Haram in the country.