A Catholic priest at the Mamfe diocese in Manyu Division, restive South West region of Cameroon has been kidnapped by a group of young men who 'identified themselves as separatists'. According to officials of the diocese, the boys are asking for a ransom of over 20 million FCFA.
The Vicar General of the Mamfe diocese, Mgr Julius Agbortoko Agbor is the latest victim of the ongoing over four-year long Anglophone crisis rocking the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
According to a statement issued by Fr Sebastian Sinju, Chancellor of the Mamfe diocese, the prelate was abducted Sunday August 29 while on a pastoral visitation to Kokobuma, a locality in the Meme Division, South West region by young men who 'identified themselves as separatist fighters'.
The said men are asking over 20 million FCFA to release the priest. Describing how his abduction happened, Fr Sebastian Sinju says in his statement that Mgr Julius Agbortoko was taken away 30 minutes upon his arrival at the Major Seminary compound.
He indicates that the fighters bumped into the said compound and made their way straight to the residence of the Bishop where they noticed the presence of the Vicar General. Considering him as much younger and stronger than the ‘frail’ Bishop Emeritus Lysinge, they took him away.
“I call on all of you to invoke the One Family Spirit and pray unanimously for his safety and his subsequent release…” Fr Sebastian wrote.
He has equally used the opportunity to denounce recurrent attacks on the Church in general and that of the Mamfe priest in particular and pleaded with stakeholders in the ongoing Anglophone crisis to ‘kindly’ exclude the church in their affairs ‘for God’s sake’.
This abduction is the latest in a series of abductions and attacks suffered by the Church in the course of the ongoing-armed conflict in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon that has displaced more than 700,000 civilians and forced more than 60,000 across the border to Nigeria, according to a United Nations report of April 2021.