More than 500 Pentecostal churches call Cameroon home. Yet only 50 are legal, claim government officials in the Central African coastal nation.
Other African countries also complain of illegal churches. But Cameroon has made headlines for ordering its military to shut down nearly 100 churches in its largest cities, prompted in part by recent healing services that have resulted in deaths.
President Paul Biya claims "criminal practices organized by Pentecostal pastors ... threaten the security of the West African nation," reports CNN, while "Pentecostal pastors said the move is evidence of Biya's insecurity about the churches' criticism of the government."
The State Department recently reported on religious freedom in Cameroon.
The rapid growth of Pentecostal Christianity in Africa has created problems in other nations. In Angola, officials report that only 10 percent of its 900 churches are legal, and are seeking solutions. Officials in Zambia have voiced similar complaints.