Gunmen in Cameroon Kidnap 5 Priests, a Nun, and 2 Churchgoers After Setting Fire to Church

Five Catholic priests, one consecrated sister and two laypeople were kidnapped by unknown assailants who set fire to a church on Friday in western Cameroon, the Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda announced in statement dated September 17. The Mamfe diocese located in South West region is one of two restive regions in Cameroon where separatists have been waging war to the federal authorities since 2017.

It is with “shock and utter horror” that the Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda in Western Cameroon announced the kidnapping of “five priests, a nun and two lay faithful”. “On the evening of September 16”, a statement received by AFP on Sunday started, the Christians were abducted and St Mary’s Church in Nchang (South West region) was burned down.

Archbishop Andrew Nkea, who signed the statement, did not give any details of the attack, did not attribute it to anyone in particular and said that the kidnappers had given “no concrete reason” for the act.

Murders, ransackings and kidnappings have become frequent in this region, where armed separatist groups regularly target schools and teachers in particular, but also Catholic and Protestant churches and their prelates. But the bishops of the region assure that Friday’s kidnapping is “completely unprecedented” in its scale.

Past kidnappings like the one of late Cardinal Christian Tumi are frequently carried out by separatist groups and can end with the release of the hostages for ransom or after negotiations with local traditional and religious leaders. More recently, it is a senator, Regina Mundi who was abducted for almost 2 months.

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Source: Africa News