Bible Society workers Jonas and Joseph have been murdered by Boko Haram terrorists. All photos: United Bible Societies

Murder of two Bible Society workers in Cameroon will not stop Bible mission

The Bible Society leader in Cameroon has vowed that literacy projects there will continue despite the murder of two Christians working on them by Islamist terrorists.

Jonas, 42, a church elder, was killed on 8 August while standing guard outside a church, while Joseph, 43, was murdered in his home on 18 September while caring for one of his sick children.

The two men, who were friends, were working on literacy projects in the north of the West African nation ahead of a new Bible translation being made available for illiterate, rural communities. Their desire was to see new communities read God’s word by themselves after years of work on the Parkwa translation.

Bible mission will continue

Luc, the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Cameroon, promised that the murders of the two key workers by Boko Haram terrorists would not sabotage their vital Bible mission work.

Jonas leaves behind a wife
and seven young children

‘After the murder of our two team members, who were responsible for preparing the community for the arrival of the Bible in Parkwa, our task becomes even more urgent,’
Luc said. ‘It is this Bible that will bring hope and heal the wounds of the Parkwa-speaking people. You know, when God sends you on a mission, he doesn't say what conditions you will face when you go. He says, “Go, I'm sending you.” He sent us to this people and we must accomplish our mission. We are convinced that, with him, we will complete our mission, despite the actions of the enemy.’

Patrice, who lived opposite the church where Jonas was killed, described the attack: ‘Boko Haram usually turn up in the villages at around 10pm so when it got to 11 pm those on guard thought they weren’t coming so they fell asleep. Jonas was taken by surprise in his sleep. The other two managed to escape but Jonas was shot in the head twice.’

Patrice added, ‘We’ve lost the engine of the church, a very dynamic and helpful man, an exceptional and diligent facilitator who really knew how to teach. It’s thanks to him that many Christians here can read and write.’

Joseph leaves behind a wife and eight young children.

Joseph was killed six weeks later. His friend said, ‘The villagers were hiding in caves. One of Joseph’s children was sick and crying. Fearing that they would be discovered, some of the villagers asked Joseph to take his wife and child and return to his hut. That’s where Boko Haram found them. His wife was able to escape with the child, but not Joseph.’

The killings mark the end of a two-year lull in attacks by Boko Haram in areas of Cameroon’s Far North region

Many people have fled their villages since the attacks resumed in the region. Boko Haram members have warned those who have chosen to stay that they will continue to bury their dead because ‘living on the mountainsides doesn’t mean you’re [safe] in heaven’.

Difficult to flee

It is difficult for people to flee, because there is nowhere else to go for food and shelter. There is flooding in the area, and living conditions are extremely difficult. Diseases are decimating the population and famine is rising.

Some of the bereaved family members of Jonas.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Cameroon and in other nations in the Sahel region of Africa who live under the constant threat of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Ask that God will protect them and give them courage so they will not be deterred from worshipping or from spreading the word of God.

Ask God to lift up these families who have lost loved one and for the Bible translators who are so distressed by what has happened that they are finding it difficult to concentrate. May the Lord’s name be glorified and give us victory, so that his children can finally live in peace and safety.

  • The village, church and the names of the survivors have not been revealed to protect the identity of Christians in the area.
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