The Cameroon military has denied killing a Kenyan missionary in the ongoing conflict in Kembong, a locality one of the war torn English speaking regions.
According to Cameroon defense minister Joseph Beti Assomo, investigations into the incident indicate that he was killed by warring factions in a bid to taint the government.
“The preliminary investigations reveal that the authors of this criminal act did this to discredit the defense and security forces,” Assomo said in a statement.
Rev. Father Cosmas Omboto Ondari, 33-year-old Kenya priest who was ordained in 2017 and immediately posted to Cameroon, was shot in front of the church of the Parish of St. Martin of Tours in Kembong
Mamfe Diocese bishop Andrew Nkea had earlier indicated that the missionary had been killed “by government soldiers who were shooting at random from passing vehicles.”
But Assomo said the information was false and blamed armed separatists for the death of the priest.
“The secessionist activist Eric Tataw based in the United States of America promised to kill any foreigner found in the Northwest and Southwest regions so as to draw the attention of the international community which has not paid any attention to the crisis,” he said.
The defense minister called on foreigners to notify government forces before traveling to the troubled regions.
Ondari was shot dead about three weeks after an American missionary was killed in a crossfire in the restive Anglophone region of Northwest.
Fighting between government forces and armed separatist groups has been ongoing since October 2017 after the separatists declared the independence of a nation called “Ambazonia” in the two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest.