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09 February 2012

Christian converts in Cameroon under threat from militant Islamists

Cameroon-cattle-4x3.jpgChristian converts in northern Cameroon are coming under intensifying pressure following a warning from militant Muslims to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath”.

The handwritten threat from a group identifying itself as Boko Haram was put under the door of a church leader’s house earlier this month. It called on all Christian converts to return to Islam at the mosque on Friday 13 January or face the wrath of the god of Islam.

A few days later, two turbaned men arrived by motorcycle at the church leader’s house one night while he was away. One entered the house and ordered the man’s wife and children to lie face down on the ground. He asked where the church leader was and then searched the house. The intruder told the wife to tell her husband that they would get him no matter where he was hiding.

After this distressing incident, the family fled the village, and the other converts have gone into hiding.

Another Christian leader, who has been trying to inform church leaders about the militants’ threat, also had his house searched at night. Two turbaned men carrying a sword turned up and spoke to the man’s wife; they also searched the property and stole his computer. The leader arrived home after the pair had left.

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group that has been wreaking havoc against Christians in neighbouring Nigeria.

On New Year’s Day, the group gave Christians a three-day ultimatum to leave Northern Nigeria. Since the deadline expired, Christians have been gunned down at church and in their homes.

Boko Haram has been behind numerous high-profile attacks on Christians, politicians, police and security services in Nigeria, killing over 900 people since it launched an uprising in 2009. It is fighting to establish an Islamic state.

It is a worrying development that militants identifying themselves with Boko Haram are now threatening and harassing Christians in Cameroon, where it is rare to hear of anti-Christian incidents. The country is around 54 per cent Christian and 26 per cent Muslim.



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