CAMEROON: Bishop Kome Condemns Destruction of Forests

SÃO PAULO, NOVEMBER 6, 2019 (CISA)-Bishop Abraham Kome of Bafang, and the President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon has condemned the illegal logging and exploitation of minerals in Africa.

The bishop who is also a member of the Ecclesial Network of the Congo Basin (REBAC) said the illegal logging is destroying African forests and triggering armed conflict, pollution of water sources and causing landslides.

“Just the sheer number of trucks carrying away huge logs of wood is a clear indicator that indeed our forests are being decimated,” Bishop Kome said in an interview at the end of the Amazon synod.

He regrets that despite the mining, the local and indigenous people do not even benefit from the mining. “Sometimes entire communities remain even more impoverished and vulnerable after all the logging and mining is done.”

Bishop Kome challenged the Church, civil and political leadership to work together in teaching locals to take care of the environment.

“In Cameroon, we have come up with teaching materials related to teaching civic responsibilities, and in some of these documents, we have dedicated a large amount of space to a discussion of the environment. We want young people to take an interest in caring for our common home, at an early age,” he added as reported by reported Vatican news.

He asked the Church and the civil society to lobby those with power, draw attention of the international community to help address the challenges caused by the extractive industries.

“Here again, we want to make sure that rules are respected. It is not always possible to get rules respected. It is complicated because sometimes these companies operate by using fronts, and have bought patronage and protection. We do feel helpless because having more financial resources, they can afford to get away with many violations,” he said.