When 90-year-old Cardinal Christian Tumi was interrogated in captivity by armed separatists in Cameroon last week, he calmly told his captors that he had been called by God to preach only what is true.
A video published on social media Nov. 7 revealed a conversation that took place while Cardinal Tumi was held overnight by separatist militias while traveling through Cameroon’s Northwest Region.
In the video, one of Tumi’s captors confronted the cardinal about his calls for fighters in Cameroon to lay down their arms and then instructed him to share the separatists’ message with the public.
To this, the cardinal responded: “I will preach what is the truth with pastoral conviction and biblical conviction.”
“Nobody has the right to tell me to preach the contrary because I was called by God,” Cardinal Tumi said.
At another point in the video, the cardinal told his captors: “When I speak, I speak like a pastor and that I can never stop doing. If I stop doing that, then I will not be faithful to God, the Almighty.”
Tumi had been traveling with 12 other people, including a local leader, Fon Sehm Mbinglo I, from Bamenda to Kumbo on Nov. 5 when they were intercepted by gunmen belonging to separatist militias in Bamunka, a village in Cameroon’s northwest region. He was freed by the separatist fighters the following day.
The kidnapping of the archbishop emeritus of Douala came amid a conflict between separatists and government forces in the English-speaking territories in Cameroon’s Northwest Region and Southwest Region. Tensions escalated after Francophone teachers and judges were sent to work in the historically marginalized Anglophone regions in 2016, and the dispute has come to be known as the Anglophone Crisis.
Cardinal Tumi has been active in seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis through dialogue after his retirement as archbishop of Douala.
At one point in the video, Tumi told the separatists: “All of us are fighting for peace … even you.”
Read more at Catholic World Report