The nine persons who were kidnapped in September from a nearby parish are being released on Saturday, and the Diocese of Mamfe has ordered prayers of thankfulness to be recited.
On October 22, the nine were freed.
Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo of Mamfe urged everyone to recite a decade of the rosary in appreciation to God for the safe release of their abducted brothers and sisters on October 23 in a message to the diocese.
He said: “Words will only do scant justice in expressing my sentiments of gratitude to all those who collaborated with us in the process of negotiating for their safety and release. I am sincerely grateful to all who joined us in this collective effort in praying for the safety and release of our brothers and sisters.”
In Cameroon’s Southwest Region, on September 16, unidentified gunmen assaulted St. Mary parish in Nchang. The church and other structures on the parish grounds were burnt down, and nine individuals were kidnapped.
Fathers Elias Okorie, Barnabas Ashu, Cornelius Jingwa, Job Francis Nwobegu, Emmanuel Asaba, Sister Jacinta C. Udeagha, Nkem Patrick Osang (an assistant catechist), Blanche Bright, and Mme. Kelechukwu were taken hostage by the assailants.
“Permit me to utilize this occasion to congratulate your combined efforts at prayer,” Abangalo said in a statement announcing the men’s release.
I take this chance to once again strongly condemn the act of desecrating the church and to denounce the need for the improvement of human dignity.
The bishop of Cameroon declared: “Taking away the freedom of our fellow brothers and sisters in order to gain money at any costs is cruel and should be discouraged from whomever acts in such.
He said, “I guess it is time to reassess your approach and guarantee that the dignity of the human being is preserved in every manner possible for those who make remarks — categorical or implied — which feed such activities.
Days after a video of the nine kidnapped people pleading with Abangalo to obtain their release surfaced on social media, the kidnappees were freed.
Abangalo stated on October 24 that a Mass of Gratitude for the Captives’ Release would be conducted the following day at the Mamfe Cathedral.
One of the most recent occurrences in the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis is the arson assault on St. Mary parish.
Conflict between Cameroon’s English- and French-speaking regions lies at the heart of the situation. In the late 19th century, the region was a German colony; however, with the loss of the German Empire in World War I, the region was partitioned between British and French mandates. In 1961, the mandates were combined to become an independent Cameroon.
In the Southwest and Northwest Regions, historically known as the British Southern Cameroons, there is now a separatist movement.
Since 2016, when the country’s Anglophone population started organizing demonstrations to call for the restoration of federalism, there has been unrest in Cameroon.
In the English-speaking part of Cameroon, secessionist extremists have also tried to use violence against government forces and have started assaulting military personnel since 2017.