Senegalese Bishop Describes His Transfer as “a return home to my native church”

Bishop Paul Abel Mamba Diatta, transferred from Senegal’s Ziguinchor Diocese to the Episcopal See of Tambacounda. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Bishop Paul Abel Mamba Diatta has described his recent transfer from Senegal’s Ziguinchor Diocese to the Episcopal See of Tambacounda as “a return home” to an Episcopal See in which he had ministered for 15 years.  

On November 4, Pope Francis transferred Bishop Diatta who has been serving as Local Ordinary of Ziguinchor Diocese to Tambacounda Diocese. 

“I thank the Lord for the trust he has placed in me by choosing to bring me back to Tambacounda where I had a happy experience with my predecessor, the pastoral agents and the faithful for 15 years,” Bishop Diatta has been quoted as saying in a Monday, November 8 report.

“This appointment is like a return home to my native church,” he further said, and explained, “After being trained here (Ziguinchor) for 10 years as a Bishop, the Lord wanted me to return to Tambacounda to continue my Episcopal ministry,” Bishop Diatta said.

He added, “I am also aware that I must relearn how to live with the pastoral agents, the faithful and the people in general.”


The Diocese of Tambacounda has been under the leadership of Bishop Jean-Pierre Bassène as Apostolic Administrator since his appointment in August 2017. The Local Ordinary of Senegal’s Kolda Diocese became the caretaker of Tambacounda Diocese following the resignation of Bishop Jean-Noël Diouf over poor health. He was aged 70. 

Bishop Diatta who will turn 61 next month has been at the helm of Ziguinchor Diocese since 2010 as Apostolic Administrator and later as Bishop following his Episcopal Ordinary April 2012.

In the November 8 news report, Bishop Diatta also spoke about reactions from the people of God in Ziguinchor Diocese following his transfer saying, “I received many calls from the faithful to congratulate me, encourage me and pray for my new mission.”

He added in reference to those who reached out to him after the news of his transfer were made public November 4, “Some were also sad to see me leave after 10 years and to have to wait for a new Bishop. But I felt that they accepted this appointment with faith and hope.”

The new Local Ordinary of Tambacounda was ordained a Priest in 1988. Following his ordination, he ministered at St Louise Junior Seminary until 1991. He was then transferred to the Junior Seminary in Tambacounda Diocese.

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He joined the Catholic Institute of Yaoundé in Cameroon while on sabbatical to further his studies and later returned to Tambacounda in 1995 where he served until 2006.

Bishop Diatta also served as the vicar of the Martyrs of Uganda Parish in Colobane, Senegal.

His installation as Local of Tambacounda is expected to take place in January 2022. Before this, the new Bishop for Tambacounda is expected to visit his predecessor, Bishop Diouf, who retired to the Archdiocese of Dakar.

“I hope to receive from him some advice, after several years of collaboration when he was the Bishop of Tambacounda,” Bishop Diatta said.

He also plans to “make a trip to Tambacounda to greet his new diocesan colleagues and make contact with his future collaborators.”


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.