By Andrew Nsoseka
Apprehension gripped the Catholic Christians and inhabitants of Kumbo, August 24, when information went viral on social media that the Bishop of Kumbo Diocese, Mgr. George Nkuo, had been abducted by armed men.
Calm only returned hours later, when it was reported that the Bishop has been released by the armed Separatist fighters who had taken the Bishop to one of their camps.
Writing on the incident, Kumbo Diocese’s owned Radio Evangelium, detailed that the Bishop “was on his way back to Kumbo from Bamenda after the meeting of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda (BAPEC) when at about 9.00am, he was abducted somewhere between Sarkong-Wainamah and Kumbo.
“It was clear that the gunmen wanted only the Bishop, given that the other Priests and religious who were with him were asked to continue their journey.” Radio Evangelium further stated that “He (Bishop) was later moved to Kikaikom.
It must be noted that two Priests had been abducted in Kikaikom two weeks before, and one of them was held for over five days.
“In the circumstances, Priests and religious around Kumbo rallied and began to march towards Kikaikom to request the release of the Bishop. It was around Nyaro, that the group was asked not to go any further as they were told the Bishop had been released.
“Christians and other well-wishers had joined the group by the time the Bishop arrived on a motorbike. Bishop Nkuo greeted and thanked all who had come in search of him. The look on his face comforted the people as he blessed them before leaving for his house about 2.20pm.
“The Vicar General, Mgr. Roland Berngheh, expressed words of gratitude to all the Priests and Christians who had braved the odds and marched out in search of their Shepherd,” Radio Evangelium reported.
Why The Bishop Was Taken
Though no convincing reason has been advanced for the Bishop’s abduction, some apparent public relation stunts from Ambazonia activists have claimed that the Bishop was taken to discuss on the need to reopen a sealed church in Kikaikom, and pray for the camp.
“…Bui Warriors pleaded with him to open the church he closed, and that he should bless them. Some say the Bishop was kidnapped. People like using wrong words. Bui Warriors are Christians, the flock of the Bishop. They just had some conversation with the Bishop and the Bishop left for home happily with a gift from Ambazonia Fighters. The rains delayed his movement but Bui Warriors are accompanying him home,” Mark Bareta said in a statement. In pictures and videos shot at the camp, the Bishop is seen praying alongside the fighters, who later gave him a chicken as he left for his home in mainland Kumbo.