3 Italian Priest, 1 Canadian Nun Kidnapped in Cameroon

Italian government, Canadian government and the Catholic Church officials have all confirmed that two Italian priests and a Canadian nun, who were working as missionaries, have been abducted from northern Cameroon before dawn on Saturday. Sources claim that they were abducted from their residences by two armed groups in the western African country.

Italy’s foreign ministry has officially identified the priests as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri, though they refused to reveal the identity of the Canadian involve, alleging that it might compromise efforts for the missionaries’ release. Travelers are guided against visiting the area within 30 kilometres from the border with Nigeria “in consideration of the risk of kidnappings due to presence of jihadist elements coming from Nigeria.” According to a spokesperson from the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Ottawa, they have been briefed about the situation. The spokesperson alleged that “we are pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Cameroonian authorities.”

Meanwhile, a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, revealed that the priests were assigned from the Vicenza diocese in northern Italy. Whereas according to the spokesman for Rev. Alessio Graziani, Vicenza diocese, the missionaries kidnapped “are greatly loved and greatly appreciated,” and added that “the people there have great esteem for them.” According to Vatican Radio, three were seized by the armed kidnappers in the diocese of Maroua. It said that “it isn’t ruled out that those who carried out the abduction belong to the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram.”

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