Church officials in Cameroon announced Friday that two Catholic priests have been abducted at gunpoint at Ibal village in the anglophone region of the country’s Northwest.
Father Franklin Banadzem Dindzee, the diocesan youth chaplain of Kumbo Diocese, and Father Patrick Atang were “kidnapped late at night on Thursday along Ibal-Jikejem road on their way to the town of Oku in the Northwest Region,” said a statement by the local Catholic church, which called on the kidnappers to release the clerics unharmed.
The abduction took place on the Catholic feast of the Assumption, the same day the Bishop of Kumbo, George Nkuo, publicly condemned the atrocities that have been committed in the area, urging Christians to pray for peace for the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country.
Local police said officers are searching the area in an effort to rescue the priests, whose whereabouts are currently unknown. No ransom or other demands have been made regarding their release.
Police also claimed that the kidnappers are members of a separatist group fighting for the independence of Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest. For their part, the separatists have denied responsibility for the kidnapping.
The abduction of Catholic priests has become widespread in the two western regions since the outbreak of an armed conflict in 2017 that has resulted in hundreds of deaths.
A Kenyan priest was shot dead in 2018 in front of the church of the Parish of St. Martin of Tours in Kembong, in Cameroon’s Southwest Region.