Bamenda, Cameroon – An American missionary died on Tuesday after being shot in the head in clashes between armed separatists and soldiers in northwestern Cameroon, said the director of the regional hospital.
Charles Trumann Wesco, an Indiana missionary who had been in the area for two weeks, was taken to the Bamenda hospital after being seriously injured in the car, hospital director Kingue Thomson Njie said.
“After all attempts to save his life, he died in our hospital,” Njie told The Associated Press.
Wesco’s wife Stephanie and her eight children are still in Bamenda, he said.
Dave Halyman, deputy pastor of the Believers Baptist Church in Warsaw, Indiana, where Stephanie Wesco’s son, Don Williams, is the senior pastor, said Williams telephoned his daughter after the shooting.
In a report from Williams, Halyman reported that the shooting had taken place when Charles and Stephanie Wesco were driven in a car by another missionary to the city of Bamnui in the suburb of Bambili in Bamenda, where the family lives. He said that Charles Wesco was in the front seat and two shots were hit on the windscreen and on the head. Nobody else was hurt, Halyman said.
The family had been in Cameroon for only 12 days before the shooting in Cameroon, said Halyman. He said that they had been financially supported for two years and had been in Cameroon two years ago.
“We are shocked and apologize for what happened.” We try to overcome the effects of the loss of such a wonderful Charles, “said Halyman. Although we do not like that, we understand that God has a great purpose. ”
The brother of the missionary is Indiana state representative Tim Wesco, who confirmed that his older brother had been killed. “I love the Lord, I loved people, the Lord gives, the Lord leaves, blessed be the name of the Lord,” he said.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that he and his wife Janet are thinking of Rep. Tim Wesco and his family as they mourn the death of his brother Charles. We ask that all Hoosiers join us to offer prayers and condolences to the Wesco family. ”
Bamenda is located in northwestern Cameroon, the disturbed English-speaking area where armed separatists fought the military while trying to create an independent state.
Regional Governor Deben Tchoffo said the armed groups organized attacks to stop the reopening of Bamenda University, and the military responded on Tuesday. He said Wesco might have been caught in a cross fire.
A military spokesman, Col. Didier Badjeck, told AP that the military killed at least four suspects in Wesco’s death and arrested many others. He did not specify if the people detained were military personnel or separatists.
The Cameroonian army said last week, after launching attacks on allegedly separatist training camps, that “many have died.” The attacks took place on the day after President Paul Biya was declared the winner of a seventh electoral term.
The increase in violence began after the government stifled demonstrations by English-speaking teachers and lawyers protesting against the so-called marginalization of the English speaking minority and the effectiveness in implementation of the English Common law in the English speaking regions. After repression by the government, armed factions have emerged and used force to press for an independent state they call “Ambazonia”.
The protests against the 85-year re-election of Biya on 7 October continue.
Associated Press reporter Ken Kusmer of Indianapolis contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that the victim’s wife was talking to her father instead of the assistant pastor.
Author: The Associated Press