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Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese to Offer Mass for Priest’s “immediate, unconditional release”

Fr. Christopher Eboka who was kidnapped May 22 in Cameroon's Mamfe Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Priests ministering in Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese are set to offer Holy Mass for the quick and safe release of their colleague who was kidnapped at the end of last week. 

The Friday, May 28 Eucharistic celebration across the Cameroonian Diocese announced in a Wednesday, May 26 statement aims to seek divine intervention for the freedom of Fr. Christopher Eboka who has been missing since last Friday.

“We call on all our Priests to rally the faithful in the various Parish churches on Friday, 28 May, 2021 at 9 a.m. to celebrate Holy Mass and pray for his (Fr. Eboka’s) immediate and unconditional release,” the Chancellor of Mamfe Diocese, Fr. Sebastine Sinju, says in his May 26 statement. 

The leadership of Mamfe Diocese “is praying and working to secure his release (together with his bike rider),” Fr. Sinju adds in his statement titled, “In Solidarity for the Release of Fr. Christopher Eboka.”

He explains that Fr. Eboka “left Mamfe town for a brief Pastoral trek, in view of the Pentecost, to some Mission Stations of the Cathedral Parish on Friday, May 21.” 

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“Reports later reached us that he was taken hostage on May 22, 2021 by some separatist fighter,” says the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese located in the Southwestern region of Cameroon. 

Fr. Sinju adds that “despite all appeals and efforts to secure his release, Fr. has not been set free and is still being held incommunicado.” 

Separatists have been operating in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Southwest and Northwest, since 2016 when the Anglophone region plunged into crisis after a protest by lawyers and teachers turned violent.

The armed separatists who claim independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia have been responsible for abductions and attacks in the Anglophone regions. 

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Last November, the late Christian Cardinal Tumi was kidnapped by the separatists and freed after spending a night with his abductors.

Twelve other people, including the traditional Chief of the Nso tribe, Fon Sehm Mbinglo II, were kidnapped alongside the Cardinal.

The separatists were also responsible for the June 2019 abduction of the Archbishop emeritus of Bamenda, Cornelius Fontem Esua, and that of Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo Diocese in August 2019.

In February, Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Cameroon’s Kumba Diocese invited members of secessionist groups and the government to “stand by the truth, embrace dialogue, look at each other as brothers and sisters and accept proposals that will enhance peace and harmony in our country.”  

“What is preventing us from finding a solution to this crisis is that there are so many agents of the devil in it and the devil is the promoter of lies,” added the Local Ordinary of the Diocese located in Cameroon’s Southwestern region.

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“If we stand by the truth, if we love one another, this problem could be resolved,” said Bishop Nfon told ACI Africa in the February 23 interview.