“Pray in solidarity” for Release of Priests, Nun, Others in Captivity: Bishop in Cameroon

Bishop Agapitus Enuyehnyoh Nfon of Cameroon's Kumba Diocese. Credit: ACI Africa

The Catholic Bishop of Cameroon’s Kumba Diocese is calling on the people of God in the Central African nation “to pray in solidarity” for the release of the five Catholic Priests, a Catholic Nun, and three others who were abducted from a Parish of Mamfe Diocese last month.

In a Sunday, October 9 letter addressed to Vicars General in Cameroon, Bishop Agapitus Enuyehnyoh Nfon calls upon Priests in Cameroon to offer Holy Mass for the intention of the “safe and sound” release of the nine.

On September 16, gunmen attacked St. Mary's Catholic Nchang Parish of Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese. They torched building in the Parish and kidnapped Fr. Elias Okorie, Fr. Barnabas Ashu, Fr. Cornelius Jingwa, Fr. Job Francis Nwobegu, Fr. Emmanuel Asaba, Sr. Jacinta C. Udeagha, Mr. Nkem Patrick Osang (Assisting Catechist), Ms. Blanche Bright, and Mme. Kelechukwu.

In his October 9 letter shared with ACI Africa, Bishop Nfon says that since the kidnapping of the nine on September 16, “the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Mamfe in particular, and the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda, have been praying for their release.”

“Up to the time of this appeal, they are yet to be released,” the Local Ordinary of Kumba Diocese who doubles as the President of the Episcopal Commission for Seminaries and Clergy of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) says. 


He implores Vicars General in Cameroon “to call on all the priests in your respective Dioceses to pray in solidarity for their release.”

Bishop Nfon asks Vicars General to “to appeal to all the Priests of your respective Dioceses to join the Priests and lay faithful of the Diocese of Mamfe in particular, and of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda in general, to offer a Mass intention each, for the release of our confreres, the nun and the three faithful safe and sound.”

In an interview with ACI Africa last month, the Archbishop of Bamenda said those behind the abductions were demanding a ransom of some US$100,000.00 in order to free the nine abductees.

“Those who abducted these people and set the church ablaze are only asking for ransom,” Archbishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya told ACI Africa during the September 21 interview, adding that those behind the abductions had revised the ransom downwards to “somewhere around 50,000 USD but we don't have even a dollar to pay for this kind of thing.”

According to Archbishop Nkea, the abductors who claim to be Separatists fighters “See the Church as a soft target to be able to make money.”

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“But the Church has no money to pay ransom,” the Local Ordinary of Bamenda who started his Episcopal Ministry in Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese as Coadjutor Bishop in August 2013 told ACI Africa. 

In a statement issued September 21, the Local Ordinary of Mamfe Diocese, Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo, appealed for prayers for the safe release of the nine abductees.

Bishop Abangalo decried the events of September 16, saying they had “dealt a very grievous blow to us as a Church”.

The 49-year-old Cameroonian Bishop urged the people of God in his Episcopal See not to “lose sight of what our faith teaches that being the body of Christ we must have our own fair share of sufferings and persecution - this is exactly what the Church is going through in our time.” 

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.