Second bible translator killed in Cameroon
Following the death of Bible translator Angus Fung, another evangelist has been killed in Cameroon.
Bible translator Benjamin Tem was murdered during an attack last Sunday.
Tem had been working on the same translation project as Fung at the time of his death. Fulani militants in the northern part of the country are suspected to be behind the attack, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).
It is difficult to say whether the attack was religiously motivated, or whether social unrest played a role. Violence between the Anglophone community and central government in Northern Cameroon has caused problems in the country, where those who speak English claim they are facing discrimination despite the country's bilingual status.
Over 2000 civilians have died and more than a half-million have fled their homes because of an English-speaking armed separatists group that first emerged after protests in the country in 2016. Anglophones in the country say they are not adequately represented in Cameroon's government.
ICC has speculated Fulani militants under government orders were beind the attack, though this has not been confirmed.
Nathan Johnson, Middle East Regional Manager for Africa with ICC says th case could be related to persecution, though it is more likely due to the "civil strife" in the country.
"The locals have also claimed that the Cameroonian government has hired or instructed these attackers to hurt those who are supporting the separatists,” he says. “This means that the locals also believe that these attacks are tied to the civil strife. It is unclear if these rumors are true, however.”
Johnson also states that the possible involvement of the Cameroonian government in these attacks does not negate their responsibility to protect citizens.
"If they have asked for these attacks, then they are complicit and must be held accountable by their own people and the rest of the world," says Johnson. "If they have not called for these attacks, then they are failing to stop large scale attacks on their own land and people. This is not complicity, but more of incompetence or lack of care. Again, this must be addressed and stopped.”
Tem's loss was mourned online, with one post remembering him for his work.
"Grateful that he worked so hard to help provide the New Testament to his people before being murdered," the post reads.
This most recent act of violence in Cameroon is one of several in recent history. Last week, a priest who led several Catholic charities in the region was placed under arrest.
In October 2018, Charles Wesco, a US missionary, was killed by gunfire during a trip to the store with his wife. He and his family had just arrived in the country.