Cameroon minister sparks fury by saying ‘arrogant’ Jews brought on Holocaust

Cameroon has apologised to Israel after a minister called Jewish people “arrogant” and implied they brought the Holocaust on themselves.

Deputy justice minister Jean de Dieu Momo appeared to suggest arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto was leading the Bamileke people to a similar fate.

Speaking during a prime time TV programme on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) on Sunday, Mr Momo said: “In Germany, there was a community that was wealthy and wielded all economic power, it was the Jews.

“They were so arrogant that Germans felt frustrated. Then, one day, a certain Hitler came to power and put them in the gas chambers.”

He added: “Educated people like Mr Kamto need to know where they are leading their people.”

Mr Kamto, a former government minister, was arrested on 28 January along with a number of other opposition figures after claiming he won last year’s election.

He and Mr Momo are both of Bamileke descent.

The Embassy of Israel in Cameroon said it was “deeply shocked” by the “gravely disappointing” antisemitic comments.

“The member of government makes a tacit justification of the holocaust by Nazi Germany,” it said in a statement.

“The embassy strongly condemns these statements, expects an immediate apology and will pay close attention to reparatory steps taken.”

The Cameroon government said it “deplores” the minister’s comments but has not said whether he will face any repercussions. 

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