Some gunmen under the umbrella of Amba Boys, Tuesday, June 25, abducted the Archbishop of Bamenda, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua.
According to reports, the Archbishop was returning from Esu, Memnchum Division, where he had embarked on a three-day evangelisation mission, when he fell into the dragnets of Amba Fighters.
During his close to 24 hours in captivity, the Prelate called on his captors to ensure the effective resumption of schools.
He also beseeched his captors to refrain from threats to life and to make the environment cordial to all, especially those they claim to be fighting for.
How Archbishop Esua Was Abducted
We learnt that while on his way back from Esu, the Archbishop arrived at a roadblock in Sho, Njinikom, erected by Amba Boys.
He alighted from his car and dismantled the barricades before he was confronted by fighters, who questioned why he had to remove the roadblocks.
The fighters then took the Archbishop to their General. While in the Amba camp, the Archbishop explained to the said General that he is a man of God, and that he was on an evangelisation mission to Esu from where he was returning to Bamenda.
The first General allowed the Archbishop to continue with his journey, but minutes after, the Chief Shepherd of Bamenda encountered another roadblock at Njinikijem.
There, the Bishop got down from his car again to make way for his car to pass. Another group of fighters emerged and said the Archbishop was going to be taken to their General for defying their roadblock.
Pleas from the Archbishop that it was already too late to embark on another journey to a camp fell on deaf ears.
The fighters rather decided to take the Archbishop’s driver along. On the way, some of the fighters started molesting the Bishop’s driver.
They only stopped when His Grace, Cornelius Fontem Esua pleaded that they should rather molest him, and not his driver, because the driver did not remove any roadblock.
At the camp, the Archbishop in a discussion with the fighters’ leaders explained the need for children to be allowed to go to school.
He also scolded the fighters that it is counter-productive to be using violence on the people they claim to be fighting to protect.
He also told the fighters that there is no need to make people feel insecure and that peace is priceless.
On the crisis, the Archbishop told the fighters that the Catholic Church took upon itself to push for reforms in the educational system when the crisis started, and that while such reforms are still being awaited, children should not be prevented from going to school. It was also revealed that while in Amba captivity from July 25 to 26, the Archbishop was never molested. There was great jubilation in Bamenda when the Prelate and the Curate accompanying him finally arrived the Bishop’s residence.