Mfombam Memouna said her father Mfomban Aboubakar, who opposed her conversion from Islam to Christianity, forcibly transported her from her residence in Yaounde to a mosque in Douala following her conversion, where she was beaten, forced to recite Quranic verses and inhale certain fumes. She said Aboubakar demanded her to renounce her conversion. Although she escaped back to Yaounde, her father continued to threaten her in an attempt to compel her to renounce Christianity. On October 12, Memouna submitted a complaint against her father to the attorney general of the Court of First Instance in Yaounde. At year’s end, she had yet to receive a response.
In March a “Consortium of Parents” filed lawsuits against Catholic, Presbyterian, and Baptist clergy who presided over denominational schools in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. Authorities subsequently charged the clerics with embezzlement, refusing to teach students, and jeopardizing national unity. Observers stated the charges were perceived as a disguised government attack, since the accusations were made following a communique on February 9 in which the clergymen jointly called on the government to “pursue frank dialogue with agitating Anglophone leaders” and pointed out that the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions “resulted from an underlying and unsolved political problem.” Church leaders in these regions made clear their conviction that the government was behind the charges filed against them, which they said stemmed from a school boycott conducted by Anglophone strikers that began in November 2016. The consortium filed the lawsuit after strikers closed most schools in these regions due to perceived marginalization of the Anglophone community. On September 25, the attorneys general of the respective regional courts of appeal dropped all charges against the clerics.
In April members of the CEC elected as president Reverend Jean Samuel Hendje Toya, but a faction of the CEC protested and filed a lawsuit on May 23, saying the election was rigged. In 2009 members had agreed their next president would be of Sawa ethnicity, and some rejected Toya for not meeting this criterion or because they had pledged their allegiance to Toya’s rival, Reverend Priso Moungole. Demonstrations and interruptions of church services ensued, and on July 21, the Court of First Instance in Wouri, Littoral Region, suspended the installation of those elected in April. Toya’s supporters denounced this decision, which was upheld on appeal, and rejected the authority of the state to adjudicate in internal disputes of the CEC.
On April 2, a faction of the CPC in Abong-Mbang, East Region, attempted to prevent the reopening of the Nkol-Mvolan Chapel by removing the cross, palms, altar cloth, and other religious objects and setting up barricades. Security forces intervened, the chapel reopened, and worship took place. The Nkol-Mvolan and Mbama chapels had been closed since 2014 following a dispute among those who created the Nkol-Mvolan Jerusalem parish to replace the Nkol-Mvolan parish, an initiative the CPC leadership opposed.
On February 21, the senior divisional officer for Mvila, South Region, Victor Marcel Mendel Ngangue, endorsed the decision reached by the opposing factions of the EPC. During a meeting over which he presided, they arrived at a consensus, and he placed five disputed parishes of the EPC in Ebolowa, the capital of South Region, under the provisional administration of the General Assembly of the church.
On June 7, Bishop Dibo Thomas Babyngton Elango of the Anglican Church of Cameroon addressed accusations made in 2016 that he gave preferential treatment to Nigerian clergymen. Elango stated that most parishes in the country were fledgling and consequently required outside help, including from Nigerians.
Many prominent religious leaders as well as various organizations spoke out against Boko Haram and violent extremism. On June 25, during prayers marking the end of Ramadan, the president of the Council of Imams and Religious Dignitaries of Cameroon (CIDIMUC) called on Muslims to reject terrorism and denounce Boko Haram’s radical extremism. Once a month, one imam in the Southwest Region publicly denounced Boko Haram and religious extremists.
In July, during the 11th assembly of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Central Africa Region in Yaounde, Catholic priests and clergy from other religious groups condemned religious fundamentalism and promoted dialogue and mutual acceptance when discussing differences of belief. On October 3 and 4, the UN Development Program organized a workshop in Maroua, Far North Region, which sensitized students and teachers of Quranic schools on the prevention of violent extremism, citizenship, and mutual acceptance. On September 10, the Diocese of Ebolowa held an interreligious service to promote peaceful coexistence between the Catholic Church and practitioners of traditional African beliefs and customs. This involved discussions between the bishop and local traditional leaders, which addressed myths and stereotypes, as well as “suspicions, prejudices, and ambiguities” that had characterized relations between their communities.