Card. Christian Tumi was freed on Nov. 6. Archbishop emeritus of the city of Douala, in southwest Cameroon, he was kidnapped alongside others, among them the traditional leader Fon Sehm Mbinglo II, who, Agenzia Fides, is still being held captive.
The cardinal’s abduction was part of a complex scenario of violence, which began in 2016, but that has recently seen a period of deterioration, as recounts the bishop of Kumba, Msgr. Agapitus Enuyehnyoh, to Vatican News. The population is being terrorized by a group of armed separatists fighting for independence in the northwest and southwest part of the country.
Last Oct. 24, eight children were killed during an attack on their school, the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, in the country’s southwest region. The attack, carried out by English-speaking separatists, was remembered by Pope Francis at the end of the General Audience on Wednesday, Oct. 28: “I unite myself to the pain of the families of the young students barbarically killed last Saturday in Kumba, Cameroon. I feel great bewilderment at such a cruel and senseless act, which tore away the life of innocent children while they were attending lessons at school.”
Card. Tumi has always worked tirelessly to promote dialogue between the government and separatists to find a solution to the conflict. However, the cardinal was kidnapped for encouraging children to return to a school used by separatists as leverage.