News / Europe

French Priest Freed After Cameroon Kidnapping

French Roman Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch (L) smiles on Dec. 31, 2013 next to French Ambassador to Cameroon Christine Robichon as he arrives at the French ambassador's residence in Yaounde after being freed following a six-week ordeal.
French Roman Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch (L) smiles on Dec. 31, 2013 next to French Ambassador to Cameroon Christine Robichon as he arrives at the French ambassador's residence in Yaounde after being freed following a six-week ordeal.
A Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon by Islamist militants has been freed. The Reverend Georges Vandenbeusch, a French citizen, was abducted nearly seven weeks ago. A Cameroon military aircraft flew him Tuesday from the town of Maroua to Cameroon's capital, Yaounde.

Vandenbeusch looked neat and healthy in his white t-shirt as he stepped off a Cameroon army plane. He told reporters that members of the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram kept him isolated and deprived of information during his captivity.

“It was terrible," the priest said. "Seven weeks in one spot, doing nothing. No books to read, nobody to talk to, and no radio. Terrible.”

Vandenbeusche says the past seven weeks were a time of confusion and uncertainty for him. He expressed gratitude to God and to authorities in Cameroon, Nigeria and France for negotiating his freedom with members of  Boko Haram

“I want to see my bishop," Vandenbeusch said. "I want to see people who are dear to me. I do not know what to do. I will wait and reflect on my future, I do not know what to say.”

Christians and Muslims alike organized an ecumenical service of thanksgiving in Maroua, and Bishop Philips Stephens said the local community was happy the 42-year-old priest was released unharmed.

“It is good news and joy for all of us in our diocese," Stephens said. "We have prayed for him together, Muslims and Christians.”
 
French President Francois Hollande thanked Cameroon and Nigeria for helping win Vandenbeusch's freedom. The priest was kidnapped at his home  on Nov. 13 in the far north of Cameroon, about 30 kilometers from the border with Nigeria.

French officials say they had urged the cleric to leave the area near the Nigerian border for his own security, but that Vandenbeusch decided to remain in the remote area to continue his missionary work.

It is believed that a ransom was paid for the priest to be freed, but no details have been made public.

Nearly one year ago Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria abducted seven French citizens, including four children, in northern Cameroon. The group abducted in February was freed later.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid