The United States on Wednesday confirmed the death of Charles Wesco, a missionary from Indiana who moved to the central African country of Cameroon two weeks ago with his wife and their eight children to help.
In a tweet, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr Tibor Nagy, said Mr Wesco was killed outside the town of Bambui, near Cameroon’s Northwest region where Anglophones have been in a running battle with Cameroonian soldiers in their quest for independence.
He extended his deepest condolences to family and friends of Mr Wesco, and assured that appropriate consular services were being provided.
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“Earlier today, @StateDept confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen outside the town of Bambui, near Cameroon’s Northwest region,” Mr Nagy tweeted.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Charles Wesco & my assurance that we are providing all appropriate consular services”.
Charles Wesco, who was shot dead on Tuesday, was a native of Mishawaka in Indiana and an older brother to State Representative Timothy Wesco.
Wesco and his wife, Stephanie, spent the last two years raising financial support and planning to move to Cameroon as missionaries.
About two weeks ago, they moved to Cameroon with their eight children after selling their home and possessions.
“He was really wound up about everything,” Wesco’s mother, Rebecca was quoted as saying.
“He was really excited about everything and well, he is a hard worker.”
Details remained sketchy but reports said on Tuesday morning that Wesco was headed back from a shopping trip with another missionary and was gunned down while driving.
The Cameroonian government has blamed the armed secessionist fighters who are reportedly being sponsored from Maryland in the United States.
The secessionists have been calling for equality and justice, and then for independence after their non violent protests were met with force.
They have taken up arms against the state and vowed that it would be independence or nothing.
President Paul Biya of Cameroon has argued that no country would allow armed rebels to spread terror and burn schools and kill innocent people they believe are not sympathetic to their cause.
He has said Cameroon would defend itself against what he described as a “bunch of terrorists”.