Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun have been freed two months after they were abducted in northern Cameroon by armed groups, the Vatican and the Italy’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.
Gianantonio Allegri, Giampaolo Marta and Gilberte Bussier were kidnapped April 5. The Italian Foreign Ministry thanked Canadian and Cameroon authorities, but didn’t say where or when the abduction ended. At the time of the abductions, Vatican Radio said it wasn’t ruled out that Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic group, might have been behind their kidnappings.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis had followed the case from the beginning.
“We thank the Lord that this case reached a positive conclusion,” Lombardi said, adding a thought for others who have been abducted in conflict zones. “At the same time, we continue to pray and commit ourselves so that every form of violence, hate and conflict in various regions of Africa and in other parts of the world can be overcome.”
Boko Haram’s 5-year-old Islamic uprising based in northeastern Nigeria has claimed the lives of thousands of Muslims and Christians, including more than 1,500 people killed in attacks so far this year. A French priest abducted in northern Cameroon late last year was released in January, though there was never any claim of responsibility.