Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) - The Vicar General of the diocese of Mamfe in the English-speaking region in the south-west of the country was kidnapped last Sunday. There is a war there between the regular army and militiamen who are demanding the independence of the two English-speaking areas. "It is with great sadness that I inform you about the kidnapping of Mgr. Agbortoko Agbor, yesterday Sunday, August 29", said the statement of the Chancellor Diocese of Mamfé, Fr. Sébastien Sinju.
"The Vicar General spent the weekend in Kokobuma on a pastoral visit and did not return to the seminary until late afternoon. Half an hour later, armed youths who described themselves as separatists stormed the seminary where Bishop Francis Teke Lysinge also lives. Given the Bishop's old age, the kidnappers preferred to take Mgr. Agbor", said the Chancellor of the diocese.
"The kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 20 million CFA francs (approx. 30,489 euros) for the release of Monsignor Agbortoko Agbor", said Fr. Sinju, who asked the faithful to pray for the priest's release.
That of Mgr. Agbor is not the first kidnapping of a priest from the diocese of Mamfe. On May 22, Fr. Christopher Eboka, the spokesman for the diocese, was kidnapped by separatists in the region. He was released ten days later on June 1st.
Not even the Bishops were spared from the kidnappings. The late Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala and main mediator of the Anglophone crisis, was kidnapped twice, first on 5 and 6 November 2020, then on 30 January 2021.
Mgr. Michael Miabesue Bibi, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda, in the North-West and current Bishop of Buea in the South-West, was kidnapped on December 5 and 6, 2018.
In June 2019, the Archbishop Emeritus of Bamenda, Mgr. Cornelius Fontem Esua was also kidnapped and two months later, Mgr. George Nkuo, Bishop of the diocese of Kumbo (north-west) suffered the same fate. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/8/2021)