On October 22, nine hostages, including five Catholic priests and a nun, were released more than a month after being kidnapped in the English-speaking west of Cameroon, which had been plagued for almost six years by a bloody separatist conflict, announced the Catholic Church on October 24. “I announce with great joy the release of the nine kidnapped people”, rejoiced Mgr Aloysius Abangalo Fondong, bishop of Mamfe, capital of the department.
This kidnapping has never been publicly claimed, but murders, looting and kidnappings are frequent in this region, where separatist armed groups regularly target schools and teachers, but also Catholic and Protestant churches and their prelates. The September 17, unidentified gunmen attacked and then set fire to St Mary’s Church in Nchang, in the South-West region, and kidnapped five priests, a nun and three faithful. Kidnappings are often perpetrated in order to obtain ransoms.
In English-speaking Cameroon, separatism rhymes with kidnapping
Nothing has filtered on the identity of the kidnappers, nor on the conditions of their release, but an official of the Catholic Church assured that no ransom had been paid despite the demands of the kidnappers.