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The priest and the fight for more education

February 8, 2021

In northwestern Cameroon, English-speaking separatists are fighting soldiers of the French-speaking government and schools are especially hard-hit. Pastor Roland Arrey wants to counter this with a recreation center that also teaches classes.


The conflict in Cameroon is rooted in the country's colonial past. Cameroon was a German colony from 1884 until during World War I, when Great Britain and France occupied the land and divided it between themselves — and installed two completely different legal and educational systems.

With independence in 1960, the new government was supposed to grant both parts of the country as much autonomy within the framework of a federal structure as possible.

But the English-speaking northwest felt increasingly oppressed. Over the last few years, the conflict has become increasingly violent, and hundreds of thousands of people are currently fleeing. But the international community is hardly taking any notice.

Schools, in particular, are repeatedly under attack. The separatists see them as a way for the government to maintain its power, although they also claim that government troops are responsible for the attacks. For Cameroon's children, the situation is disastrous: In many parts of the northwest, there are no more classes.

In the village of Numba, pastor Roland Arrey wants to change this — even in the face of repeated death threats.

A report by Adrian Kriesch.