Manhunt Underway for French Priest Kidnapped in Cameroon

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 09:10 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Witnesses said a French priest was kidnapped Wednesday night from a monastery in northern Cameroon near the Nigerian border, the New York Times reported.
 
The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the abduction of the priest, identified as Georges Vandenbeusch, which took place near Koza, a town located approximately 18 miles from the border.
 
The attack occurred in an area of Cameroon where Nigerian jihadist groups like Boko Haram have been known to operate. 
 
A Cameroonian official told the Voice of America that two kidnappers forced Vandenbeusch onto a motorcycle and fled the area.  
 
Cameroonian Army Col. Tatang Francis said security forces have launched a manhunt for the priest and the kidnappers. He added, however, that the abductors had apparently fled Cameroon and crossed the border into Nigeria.
 
Francis told the VOA that the kidnappers “came mainly for money." When they were unable to find any, they decided to kidnap the priest, he said.
 
Roman Nadal, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman, said French officials had urged Vandenbeusch to leave the area, but he remained there anyway hoping “to be close to the local population for his mission."
 
In February, a French family of seven was kidnapped by jihadists in northern Cameroon. They were released unharmed several months later. Boko Haram said it carried out that attack.
 
 
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