Priest kidnapped in southwestern Cameroon

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Monsignor Julius Agbortoko, a lieutenant general in the diocese of Mamfé, was abducted by gunmen on Sunday evening, in the Manyu department, in an English-speaking region during a separatist crisis.

Around 18.00 on Sunday, the actor Julius Agbortoko returned from a stay in the neighboring town of Kokobuma, where he had participated in the inauguration of a new pastorate. Half an hour later, according to the press release from the diocese, young armed men entered the seminary. They introduce themselves as “separatist fighters” and first take over the home of the archbishop of the diocese, Monsignor Lysinge. But the intruders change their minds and meet the monseigner Agbortoko, whom they consider to be younger and better off than his older brother, and decide to kidnap him instead of the archbishop.

According to Mamfé diocese, the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 20 million CFA francs. Since the beginning of the separatist crisis, the rebels have developed a real kidnapping industry, which usually results in releases for ransom and for which religious people often carry the agency.

In June, the Catholic Church in Cameroon appealed to all parties to the conflict to stop the “harassment of priests and missionaries.” That month, six priests were abducted and a church was attacked.

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