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Cameroon: Bishop fears his kidnap after abduction of three priests

Catholic Bishop Andrew Nkea says he was blackmailed by boys from his Mamfe diocese, who told their victims he would be next if he didn't pay them £655.

Three men, Father Felix Sunday, parish priest of Afap and two priests from the presbytery of Kembong Parish were held at gunpoint in October.

In a pastoral letter, seen by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Nkea says the culprits were "venting their anger" against him for attending the Grand National Dialogue in Yaounde - which was called to help restore peace between the Anglophone and Francophone regions of the country.

He said: "[The youths] told the priests that their target was the bishop and, until [I] paid [my] fine [of 500,000 CFA francs (£655)], they would track [me] down and kidnap [me]."

The bishop stated: "These boys who harass the priests are from these villages, and until the population dialogues with their children and gives me a written guarantee of the safety of the pastors who work for them, the parishes will remain without pastors."

President Paul Biya's government organised five days of talks in October to address the ongoing conflict between Francophone and Anglophone Cameroon, which reignited three years ago over the use of French in schools and courts.

Subsequent protests lead to the deaths of 3,000 people and the displacement of a further 500,000.

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