What does persecution look like in Cameroon?
The spread of Islamic extremist ideology continues to accelerate, particularly in the country's northern areas with a heavy Muslim population. This means that conversion from Islam to Christianity is more dangerous than ever. In these parts of Cameroon, new converts are often forced to practice their faith in secrecy, and owning Bibles or any Christian literature can lead to threats and aggression. Revealing their faith in Jesus to family members or the community places converts at significant risk.
The looming threat of Boko Haram and ISWAP in the Far North is also an ongoing concern. Christians in this part of Cameroon face the possibility of abduction, sexual violence, forced displacement, and death. Additionally, church activities have been severely disrupted—many churches are unable to function due to attacks and displacement, along with government pressure.
Political instability is also a concern for believers because it means they are increasingly vulnerable. Ongoing fighting between the government and rebel groups has affected the church—with some rebel groups targeting Christians. And the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) has created an ongoing state of upheaval. Many Christians from CAR have fled and sought refuge in Cameroon. This creates new hardships for believers among the refugees and for Christians already in Cameroon, as they seek to follow Jesus despite the chaos of ongoing conflict.
Christians living in places where they are at risk for violent attack are the most vulnerable in Cameroon. This includes the Far North and other regions where there is rebel violence. Converts from Islam can face specific pressures. Additionally, Christians residing in proximity to areas marked by conflict between government security forces and rebel groups in the South West are subjected to severe pressure. These challenges include the heightened risk of kidnapping, the occupation of their churches by both military and rebel forces, and various additional adversities.
"The Word of God is the source of my hope and strength. Boko Haram took my happiness away when they burned my Bible."Rukayyatu, a woman from the Far North region of Cameroon whose village was attacked by Boko Haram
What has changed this year?
Cameroon continues to be a difficult place for Christians across the board. The intensity of violence has remained at an extreme level. Pressure in community life and church life is high, and Christians in the Far North region—and neighbouring regions at risk of Islamic militant attacks—are under constant threat of violence. Boko Haram and ISWAP target Christians and Christian communities, sweeping through villages, destroying homes and churches, kidnapping believers and leaving bodies behind.
The threat of extremism remains. Converts from Islam face persecution. And rampant political corruption means Christians risk discrimination and abuse if they speak out about their convictions.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Cameroon?
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen persecuted Christians in Cameroon by providing emergency relief aid, trauma care, economic empowerment projects and spiritual care for new believers.
How can you pray for Cameroon?
- Pray for the violence—especially in the Far North region—to end. Ask God to bring about a peace only He can create.
- Ask God to help the victims of violence find comfort and restoration. Pray they would know God is a healing Father who walks alongside them.
- Pray that God would make the church in Cameroon a place of peace, hope and stability in a country with growing insecurity and violence.
Dear Father, we lift up our brothers and sisters who risk so much to follow You in Cameroon. We pray for those in the Far North region who live under the constant risk of violence—please protect our sisters from sexual violence and abduction and our brothers from attacks and death. We ask You to bring about a change in the hearts of the militants, that even members of Boko Haram and the Islamic State group would see the truth of Jesus' love and hope. We also ask for improvement in Cameroon's political situation; please bring peace between warring factions and root out corruption. Please pour Your hope and comfort on all of Your children affected by violence and pressure. In Jesus' name, Amen.