News / Africa

Nigerian Group Suspected in Cameroon Kidnapping

This picture, taken on April 5, 2014, in Tchere shows the hut where Canadian nun Gilberte Bussier was seized in northern Cameroon.This picture, taken on April 5, 2014, in Tchere shows the hut where Canadian nun Gilberte Bussier was seized in northern Cameroon.
x
This picture, taken on April 5, 2014, in Tchere shows the hut where Canadian nun Gilberte Bussier was seized in northern Cameroon.
This picture, taken on April 5, 2014, in Tchere shows the hut where Canadian nun Gilberte Bussier was seized in northern Cameroon.
There is frustration in northern Cameroon after two Italian priests and a nun of Canadian nationality were kidnapped and whisked off to Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram members. The government has deployed heavily armed troops to the area to investigate.
 
Christians in northern Cameroon held a special Mass after three of their fellow believers were attacked 60 kilometers from the Nigerian area that serves as a base for the Islamist group Boko Haram. 
 
The bishop of the Cameroon diocese, Philip Stephens, said he did not understand why God's servants should be given such treatment.
 
"I do not understand how two priests and a sister who work for God, who work for the people, and who like the people can be kidnapped.  There is no reason, no reason and I am very sad, very sad," said the bishop.
 
Seminarian Ladde Pierre witnessed the kidnapping and alerted police.  He said a group of armed men arrived shortly before midnight last Friday, and ransacked church buildings before seizing the priests and nun.
 
He said he noticed the priests had been brutalized and their rooms ransacked.
 
Pierre added that the armed men did not leave only with the clergy.
 
The kidnappers, he said, wanted to take the vehicle of the Reverend Sister and when it was difficult to start it, they left with a smaller vehicle.
 
The priests, who are about 50 years old, were identified as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegre, and the nun as Gilberte Bussier.
 
Father Marta had been in Cameroon for more than six years while Father Allegre had arrived around a year ago.  Seventy-year-old Sister Gilberte has been in Cameroon for nearly four decades and was soon to be evacuated to her native Canada for prolonged ill health.
 
The priests had been working on improving water supplies and fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
 
Cameroon Minister of Defense Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo went to northern Cameroon and ordered investigators to determine who was responsible for the attack.  The local population already blames Boko Haram which has carried out several kidnappings in the region during the past year.
 
Cameroon military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck told VOA the attack could have been avoided if the population cooperated with the military.
 
Administrative and traditional leaders must prepare the people to inform the military in case there is any threat, he said, adding that when someone hears a gun shot, it means he or she is not dead and must take precautionary measures and inform authorities. 
 
The abduction of the clergy members brings to 11 the number of people kidnapped in northern Cameroon since Boko Haram started its activities in Nigeria. 
 
The attacks came after Nigeria asked its neighbors of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to create a task force to handle terrorists, but Cameroon said it would only contribute troops when there is need.
 
Last month, Cameroon's government denied press allegations its territory is being used as a training ground for rebel activities, and later announced its troops had seized a heavy consignment of arms and ammunition for Boko Haram members in north Cameroon.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs