Following the burning of the church, the kidnappers dragged away five priests, a nun, and churchgoers.
After burning a Catholic church on fire in western Cameroon, gunmen seized five priests, a nun, and two worshippers. In this area, anglophone separatists and the authorities of the nation have been at war for years.
Bishops from the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda voiced their “shock and complete horror” at the abductions that occurred at St. Mary’s Church in the town of Nchang, according to AFP.
For their kidnapping last Friday, hijackers had “no clear explanation,” as Archbishop Andrew Nkea put it.
According to Catholic News Agency, the bishops have issued a request to “those who have seized the priests, the nun, and the Christians in Nchang to release them without further delay,” saying that they “strongly condemn all these assaults on the church and her servants.”
They said, “We insist on this because this action has now gone too far; enough is enough.” All sorts of threat messages are sent out against missionaries who have committed their life to fight for the people, and a wave of persecutions against the church’s leadership has become the new game of the “war.”
Cameroon’s security forces have been fighting rebel groups in the Anglophone area of the country’s northwest and southwest for independence and the formation of a new nation called Ambazonia. In several other regions of the nation, French is spoken.
Cameroon’s population is around 70% Christian and 30% Muslim.
According to CAN, at least six civilians were murdered on September 6 when suspected militant separatists opened fire on a bus in Muyuka. The war has killed thousands of people and displaced as many as 500,000 since 2014.
The bishops added in their statement that the Catholic Church, along with Presbyterian and Baptist churches, had been increasingly the target of violence.
Defense troops in Cameroon have been accused of murdering at least 32 individuals in the English-speaking zone in February, including a pregnant mother and 14 children.
“We strongly condemn the massacre in Ngarbuh — Ntumbaw, which included the murder of children, women, and their whole families. The Rt. Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, was quoted as saying at the time, “We equally abhor the wicked act of destroying a PCC place of worship at Mbufung — Bali,” with reference to the participation of defense and security personnel, as reported by Cameroon-Info.Net.