The Chairman of the Association of Diocesan Priests ADP Bamenda who also doubles as Principal of St Bede’s College, Ashing-Kom has been kidnapped.
Rev Fr William Neba was seized before his very own students in Ashing-Kom in the early hours of Monday April 30. Though we could not get a clear picture of how the incident occurred, it was terrified and frightened student community and staffs that welcome the Archbishop of Bamenda who immediately rushed down to St Bede’s as soon as the information got to the Bishop’s house that Rev Fr William had lost his Freedom to kidnappers. 
 
Rev Fr William Neba
While in the College His Grace Cornelius Fontem Essua held an emergency meeting with the school authorities after which it was resolved that the students who have braved security challenges in the area to be in school for the last seven months be sent home.
A Priest who was in the College Ashing at the time of the Bishop’s visit in a short message wrote “I was in St Bedes College Ashing this morning after the horrible incident. I arrived when the Archbishop, the Auxiliary, Fr Humphrey Tata and Fr Cletus Anah were already there. You see sorrow in the eyes of the bishops talk less of the mood of the Sisters.” 

Several other Priests amongst them Rev Fathers John Ambe Bosco, Jude Tar Anthony Ngeh are reported to have also braved the odds to be in St Bede’s Ashing in show of solidarity with their kidnap colleague Priests and Chairman of the Diocesan Association. 

Though at Press time we were not able to get to Rev Fr Tata Mbuy Director of Communications in the Archdiocese of Bamenda who also accompanied the Archbishop to Ashing, Parents were already taking away their kids from St Bede’s College indicating that there was likely a decision reached to that effect during the crisis meeting chaired by the Archbishop. 

Other sources which we cannot independently ascertain have it that Fr William was kidnapped alongside his chaplain Fr. Valentine Tatah who was later released while Fr. William was taken away. The same source further details that, Fr. William Neba was given the chance to call the Vice-Principal of the college to let him know he was in good condition.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnap. Kidnappings are however not new to the area with several state related officials amongst them an Inspector of Basic Education and Councilors seized recently. Information as relates the release of the Priest remains sketchy with no one with knowledge of his where about. 

Ashing is located in Belo Subdivision of Boyo Division in the NW region where there has been a running gun battle between unidentified persons and defense forces. This has led to the huge loss of lives and destruction of property. Hostilities around communities in the area have been linked to the ensuing crisis in the North West and South Regions which have affected education activities negatively with repeated calls for school boycott lasting for close to two years. 

The Cameroon Teachers Trade Union CATTU has rated school attendance in rural areas like Ashing-Belo across the concerned regions at less than 11percent. With growing attacks on the few educational facilities, it is likely the percentage will drop before the school year runs out.
NW Governor Adolph Lele L’Afrique Tchffo Deben says Security measures have been taken to protect those involved in end of course examinations to ensure a hitch free examination session.
Despite this assurance, Confessional schools like the Catholics our sources say are already taking dispositions to have their students sit end of course examinations in City Centers like Bamenda where attacks have been less in the recent past with visible security presence.
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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