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Cameroonian cleric known for peacekeeping dies at 90

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Cameroonians are mourning the death of Christian Wiyghan Tumi, a Catholic cardinal who was well known for advocating for peace in the country’s ongoing Anglophone separatist crisis. / AFP

Cameroonians are mourning the death of Christian Wiyghan Tumi, a Catholic cardinal who was known for advocating for peace in the country’s ongoing Anglophone separatist crisis.

Cameroonians are mourning the death of Christian Wiyghan Tumi, a Catholic cardinal who was well known for advocating for peace in the country’s ongoing Anglophone separatist crisis. / AFP

The 90-year-old cleric was abducted for 24 hours by separatist fighters in November asking them to disarm. The Roman Catholic Church said Tumi died in the coastal city of Douala on Saturday.

Tumi gained popularity when he advised 88-year-old Cameroonian President Paul Biya not to run for president, but Biya refused.

Following the announcement of Tum’s death, local stations such as Equinoxe TV, Royal FM and Magic FM aired some of his sermons, which were aimed at rooting out corruption in the country.

In a sermon that Tumi gave in 2010, while he was archbishop of Douala, he said that any Christian who has withdrawn funds from the state should return them to the people. He said the teachings of the Church oppose theft. Those who have stolen government money, he said, must confess and repay the stolen funds if they intend to be admitted to the heavenly kingdom of the Gods.

His message resonated beyond the confines of the church.

Moussa Oumarou, co-ordinator of Cameroon’s Council of Muslim Imams and Religious, says Tumi was influential in promoting dialogue between rival religious groups and churches in Cameroon.

Oumarou says the council is saddened by the cardinal’s death. He calls Tumin an apostle of peace who stood for interfaith dialogue to eliminate tensions between Cameroonian and Muslim Christian denominations. He says the legacy of Tumis love for the country, humanity and peace must be preserved.

(With data from agencies)