- (Photo: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)
Radical Islamic group Boko Haram confirmed the abduction of a French priest by gunmen in northern Cameroon on Wednesday with sources revealing he was transferred to neighboring Nigeria.
The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that Father Georges Vandenbeusch, parish priest of Nguetchewe, was kidnapped near the city of Cosa in northern Cameroon.
The ministry added it had formally advised to refrain from visiting the area because of the "terrorist threat and the risk of kidnapping."
In a telephone call to Agence France-Presse, Sister Francoise, who works with the priest, said from Yaounde that Fr. Vandenbeusch, 42, was kidnapped Wednesday night by unknown gunmen.
Sister Francoise said she thought the English-speaking kidnappers came on foot, since she did not hear the noise of a car, and added "They were not masked and we do not know what they took from the house of the priest. They were alone with him in his house, but they asked us for money."
Fr. Henri Djionyang, who is also based in the parish, said that kidnappers headed to Nigeria and added that they saw some motorbikes later crossing into Nigeria.
French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said he did not have any information about the identity of the kidnappers and said Paris is keeping in touch with the Cameroonian authorities.
"We are checking the conditions of kidnapping and are trying to find out who abducted him, using every means to find and release him."
Boko Haram has carried out a number of terrorist operations against Christians in northern Nigeria.