YAOUNDE, Cameroon — An American missionary died in northwestern Cameroon after being shot in the head Tuesday amid fighting between armed separatists and soldiers, the director of a regional hospital said.
Charles Trumann Wesco, a missionary from Indiana who had been in the region for two weeks, was rushed to the hospital in Bamenda after he was gravely wounded while in his car, the hospital director, Kingue Thomson Njie, said.
“He died in our hospital after all attempts to save his life,” Mr. Njie said.
Mr. Wesco’s wife and eight children were still in Bamenda, he said. It was unclear if any of them were harmed or if someone else was with him in the car.
Representative Tim Wesco, a state lawmaker in Indiana, confirmed his brother’s death and said: “He loved the Lord. He loved people. The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Bamenda is in Cameroon’s Northwest Region, the restive English-speaking area of the mainly French-speaking country where separatists have been fighting to create an independent state.
Gov. Deben Tchoffo said armed groups staged attacks on Tuesday to stop the reopening of the University of Bamenda and the military fought back. He said Mr. Wesco might have been caught in the crossfire.
A military spokesman, Col. Didier Badjeck, said the military killed at least four suspects in Mr. Wesco’s death and arrested many others. He did not specify if the people detained were military personnel or separatists.
The increased violence began after the government clamped down on demonstrations by English-speaking teachers and lawyers protesting what they called their marginalization by Cameroon’s French-speaking majority.
– Associated Press