Abducted Priests, Nun in Cameroon Released, Diocese Directs “Rosary in Thanksgiving”

Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo with the five Priests abducted in Mamfe Diocese on 16 September 2022. Credit: Radio Evangelium Mamfe

The nine people who were Kidnapped on September 16 from St. Mary's Catholic Nchang Parish of Mamfe Diocese in Cameroon, including five Catholic Priests and a Nun, have been released.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Monday, October 24, the Local Ordinary of Mamfe Diocese announces “with great joy the release of all nine who were abducted” and directs the people of God under his pastoral care to pray a decade of the Holy Rosary “in thanksgiving to God”.,

The nine who were abducted when unidentified gunmen attacked the Cameroonian Parish include 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.

“Permit me to use this opportunity to commend your collective efforts at prayer,” Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo says in his statement dated Sunday, October 23, and adds, “Following what has ensued, we too can confidently declare with the English hymnodist, John Ellerton, that the voice of prayer is never silent.”

Bishop Abangalo adds, “While sincerely appreciating you all for the display of the One Family Spirit during these difficult times, I urge each of you to pray a Decade of the Rosary in thanksgiving to God for the safe release of our brothers and sisters who were kidnapped.” 


“I am sincerely grateful to all those who joined us in this collective effort in praying for the safety and release of our brothers and sisters,” the Cameroonian Bishop says, and adds, “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.”

He continues, “Just like St. Paul, I too say to each of you: I am quite confident that the One who began this good work in you will go on completing it until the Day of Jesus Christ comes.” 

During the September 16 attack on St. Mary's Catholic Nchang Parish of Mamfe Diocese, buildings in the Parish premises, including the church, were set on fire.  

In his October 23 statement, Bishop Abangalo condemns the attack on the Parish, saying, “I seize this opportunity, once again, to condemn the act of desecrating the church, in the strongest terms possible, and to decry the need for the enhancement of human dignity.” 

“Taking away the freedom of our fellow brothers and sisters in order to make money at all cost is inhuman, and should be desisted from whoever engages in such,” the 49-year-old Cameroonian Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in May this year says.

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He adds, “For those who make utterances - categorical or implicit - which fuel such actions, I suppose it is time to rethink your approach and ensure that the dignity of the human person is upheld in every way possible.” 

“May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Peace, continue to intercede for us,” Bishop Abangalo implores.

The release of the nine abductees comes days after a video emerged on social media showing them pleading with their Local Ordinary to secure their release.

In the 45 sec video circulated October 19, one of the abductees, Fr. Jingwa, provided updates about their challenging situation and pleaded with Bishop Abangalo to do “everything possible” to secure their release.

Meanwhile, in another statement issued Monday, October 24, Bishop Abangalo invites “all the Christians, men and women of good will in all the parishes in and around Mamfe town to join him in a Thanksgiving Mass to God for the safe release of our brothers and sisters who were held in captivity for more than a month.”


“The Mass shall take place on Tuesday 25th October 2022 at the St. Joseph's Cathedral Mamfe at 4:00pm,” the Bishop says.

The arson attack on St. Mary's Catholic Nchang Parish is one of the latest incidents in the protracted conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking North West and the South West regions. The conflict was sparked by a protest involving lawyers and teachers in 2016. 

An armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia emerged following the government’s crackdown on the protests.

English speakers reportedly make up around 20 percent of Cameroon’s population and have long complained about being marginalized by the French-speaking ruling class.

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.