Thursday, 22 November 2018

Kenyan Priest Shot Dead In Cameroon's Anglophone Region

A Kenyan Catholic priest was killed in francophone Cameroon's volatile English-speaking Southwest region, where violence has surged after separatists declared an independent state, church sources told AFP on Thursday.


Father Cosmas Omboto Ondari, a Mill Hill priest serving in the Diocese of Mamfe, was killed on Wednesday, local media reported without giving details of the circumstances surrounding his demise.

"A Kenyan priest was shot dead in Kembong yesterday," one source said.

"There was no fighting, he was in the... church in Kembong when he was killed," another official said in Buea, capital of the Southwest.

The church suggested the priest may have been killed by the military.
Kenyan Priest Shot Dead In Cameroon's Anglophone Region
"There are no 'Amba Boys' in Kembong at this moment but the Cameroonian army is there," one source said, referring to armed separatists fighting for an independent state called Ambazonia.

AFP could not independently verify the claim.

Fr Ondari was ordained in Kisii alongside two other priests and appointed to the Diocese of Mamfe, according to the St Joseph Missionary Society.

Bishop Andrew Fuanya Nkea of the diocese was not reachable for comments on Thursday the clergyman's close said said he had been preparing a press release.

ALARM

Fr Ondari's death has shone the light on the rising number of religious leaders killed amid a conflict that has lasted two-years and gripped the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

The priest had been working with people displaced by the conflict.

An American Catholic missionary was killed at the beginning of November in the Northeast region. The government blamed separatists but Washington said he died in cross-fire.

Last October, US Baptist Missionary Charles Truman Wesco was killed in the Northwestern town of Bambui near Bamenda.

A Roman Catholic priest, Fr Alexander Nougi Sob, was killed in the South western town of Muyuka in July.
The crisis began as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers in 2016 and snowballed into an internal armed conflict last year, when separatists joined in and symbolically declared the independence of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.

At least 400 “ordinary people” and more than 175 members of the security forces have been killed, according to statistics by local and international groups that have been documenting abuses in the escalating violence. They include Amnesty International.

More than 300,000 people have fled the violence and now live from hand-to-mouth, in forests and across the border into Nigeria, where they are exposed to various dangers.




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