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Charles Trumann Wesco, a missionary from Indiana (pictured with his wife Stephanie)

US missionary killed in Cameroon in what family says was ‘targeted’ attack

wphm | An American missionary was shot and killed in Cameroon Tuesday, his brother confirmed to ABC News, and his family says they believe he was targeted amid growing violence in the West African country.

Charles Wesco, his wife Stephanie, and their eight children had moved to Bamenda, a major city in Cameroon’s northwest province, less than two weeks ago. After years of missions to Africa, the Wesco family had decided to permanently move to the country from Indiana after a visit there in 2015.

“Their objective was to share the love of Christ with people in a very poor and strife-ridden country,” his brother Timothy Wesco told ABC News. “That was their passion, and that was their life — to share Jesus Christ.”

But Tuesday morning, while driving into town to go shopping, Charles was shot. He was taken to one of the local hospitals where he was treated by Doctors Without Borders, Timothy said, but was declared dead shortly after arriving.

“It appears that he was targeted,” Timothy said, adding later it was “quite probable he was targeted because he was a white, English-speaking American.”

Cameroon has seen violence flare in recent months as English-speaking separatists have attacked schools in a revolt against the French-speaking government’s education system and perceived oppression of English speakers. A former French colony, Cameroon is largely French-speaking, except for the two provinces Northwest and Southwest where English is the major language.

The separatist movement has been met with a severe crackdown by government forces, with the violence bringing the country to the brink of “an emerging civil war,” according to Richard Moncrieff, the Central Africa project director at the International Crisis Group. At least 400 civilians have been killed in the last year since separatists declared independence in October 2017, reported ICG.

Local Cameroonian media reported that Wesco was shot by government forces, but his brother could not confirm that.

The State Department told ABC News that a U.S. citizen died in Bamenda and that it is providing full consular services to the family, but declined to provide any other details.

Chief among the family’s needs right now is safety.

“We’re very concerned about the safety of the family,” Timothy Wesco said. While Stephanie and the eight children are still in the country right now, the family hopes to get them out soon, he added.

The family was aware of the risks in Cameroon, with Charles and Stephanie writing in a September-October newsletter about a curfew where “English section civilians are not allowed to safely leave their homes or operate their businesses without risking loss or death.”

“Keep praying earnestly for a return of peace to the English and French sections of Cameroon!” they added, noting their humility and excitement for their religious mission.

If Cameroonian security forces are found to be responsible for Charles’s killing, it would not be the first time they have been accused of crimes. In July, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the U.S. was “gravely concerned” about a video that appeared to show military forces executing two women and two children. Cameroon’s Ministry of Information dismissed the video as “fake news.”

The U.S. has taken little action to punish the government of President Paul Biya for its human rights abuses, including allegations of killing protesters, torturing detainees, and arresting journalists. Earlier this month, Biya was reelected to another seven-year term after nearly 36 years in office in elections that opposition figures denounced.

The State Department said there were “a number of irregularities” that “may not have affected the outcome but created an impression that the election was not credible or genuinely free and fair.” But it called on the parties to peacefully resolve any disputes, instead of pushing for any recount.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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51 comments

  1. So sad. May his soul rest in peace. Last time was a professor or Bamenda university and now is this missionary. Killing people who are there for the love of the community and are willing to work towards the development of the community. All these great people killed just to keep a diaper 86 year old in power, so that he can continue rigging elections. I’ve never seen an army as dump and stupid as the one of Cameroon. They kill innocent people and they themselves like young guys die but none of them have the gods to stand and say enough of bloodshed and to say they don’t see why they should be fighting their own brothers to keep this great Grand father in power

    • I struggle to understand what evil governs a dying infidel like Biya, who farcically claims devout Catholic but finds it hard to make peace with God and do the right thing-leave power & let peace return. May be this Catholic thing is all a charade. Biya has failed and his 71% is a sad reminder of the demons that consume him.
      I struggle even more to understand how anyone with a brain can articulate support for such a coward in the twilight of his hopeless years. A weak military can’t turn on him like in Burkina Faso?
      Abdou Diouf, Nyerere, Senghor, Abdou Salami, J. Rawlings were smarter and left office in time. Diouf stated when urged by party to rig & stay, “I will NEVER submit my country to any tragedy and beset it with conflict”.
      No fatality by any group is good. Biya is the culprit.

  2. This is a provocation.
    This is a way to bring some illuminaties into our internal affairs.
    Will not fly.
    Again killing someone who is there to help the populace will backfire.
    Even your “GOD” will punish you.
    Some genius ate hoping for Trump so “snap” and maybe do something about it and put the limelight in Kamerun.
    Trump does not give a sh$&t about “shithole countries”.
    Bad move from ambazombians

  3. This is a provocation.
    This is a way to bring some illuminaties into our internal affairs.
    Will not fly.
    Again killing someone who is there to help the populace will backfire.
    Even your “GOD” will punish you.
    Some genius ate hoping for Trump so “snap” and maybe do something about it and put the limelight in Kamerun.
    Trump does not give a sh$&t about “shi$&hole countries”.
    Bad move from ambazombians

    • This senile bastardized bastard called Mbappe. Your Bulu brothers in army uniform shot this poor missionary in front of his wife and son in the car. Many witnesses have attested to that you tribalist muppet. His brother is playing diplomacy to save the rest of the family and get them outta there. Mbappe your momma! If Africa is to change we don’t only have to tame lying ethnocentric lepers like you, we will have to kill you all. Ugly devil.

      • Your nickname (Mabanda boy) tells everything about you what a promiscuous entity !!!

        • Expert in judging people from their names. That’s why the Bulu Betis occupying all high administrative, military, company parastatals offices belonging to the state, government positions while the Bassas are flooded in SoNaRa. You see diminutive midget, your thinking is corrupt and flawed and you are an ethnocentric criminal deserving extinction.

        • Is that why the Beti Bulu sounding names get all the best jobs and the Bassa at Sonara? Your corrupt tribal thinking reveals why your country is such a mess.

    • What will you say if this was a Frenchman? Coming to share the good times with Biya? Fucting racist.

  4. May his soul rest in peace in the hands of our creator Jehovah GoD and my condolences to the man of GoD family wife and children especially for dis senseless murder of their father. Biya demonic rapist cowardice thuggish bastards army killed the innocent missionary from eye witness encounter to the incident, dis bastards baby killer of innocent blood and the regime time to perish in everlasting hell fire has come and there will be no escape to dis wicked moronic bastards , it’s time the judgement of GoD fall on dis wicked clowns ,hopefully the CIA agents revenge the killing of their citizens by any means necessary at their disposal including taking out the despotic leadership

  5. Orders from from biya the war lord of Cameroonese and commissioned by Claude Meka targeted the Caucasian. America has to expose these two Cameroonese

  6. Biya and Claude Meka soldiers targeted the Caucasian. This are war crimes

  7. As far as I know, the US State Department issued series of warnings to its citizens on travelling to the two anglophone regions of Kamerun. I didn’t know some “westerners” were as stubborn as we Africans. RIP

  8. comments like the following above prove that we are intellectually infirior lacking cretical thinking,complex thinking,global thinking and most important strategic thinking, May his soul rest in peace,GOD” will punish you,May his soul rest in peace in the hands of our creator Jehovah GoD .
    at no time do authors of such comments ask themselves how it is possible that aryans from america where an african is killed everyday by aryan police officers end up in africa for so called missionary work,who infact are spy argents of the enemy.most important they are bent on transforming all of us to christians in oder to conquer and hold us under control definitively.here are people whoes existence was build on the inslavement of africans.and they are in africa to talk morals.

    • why are you crying? you are fully entitled to your thoughts and opinions…that u negate the existence of God doesnt mean HE doesnt exist. you will be intellectually superior when you clearly articulate n present ur ideas…but until then….ur guess is as gud as mine…

  9. i bate you if You open documents dating from the inslavement of africans by aryan christians for money and power.you will find the name above since it is a partriarchal tradition,it is easy to tie to the past.an african can not be normal and christian or muslim at the same time.either you respect logic holding tide to your ancestors paying respect to them by practicing the cult of ancestor.or you remained inslaved,chained mentally controlled by the enemies lies called christianity.if you ask those who wrote the comments above,they will tell you they are degree holders.degree holders who do not know that god does not existe that they exist millions on worlds like ours un inhabited.with such aleads it is not a surprise we are behind economically,technically scientifically.

    • and for this same reason your expression is as porous and incongruent as your reasoning…u should have written in your dialect since you so much despise the aryans. instead of using the internet, you should be beating gongs so as to pass on ur town-crier ideas and messages…so much incoherency…

      • really?? how was the internet created?? or the English language..do you know where it all started?? u think by putting sound and vibration into cable makes you smarter than our ancestors that were using same to communicate before u slave aryans came over to be tought in africa? and since you learned from us ..u spending time sabotaging our progress (libya is last example) while you making slow progress in your own countries and thinking you smarter than us? what do you call dialect? how many language you scum can speak? average African speak at least 20 languages moron

  10. This is a government the USA congratulated the other day. The US Africom mission trained the thug who pulled the trigger so why bother? Let them deal with the carcass they’ve sustained and supported all along. More than 20,000 Ambazonians are dead. What makes one white life more too important that those burried in mass graves?

  11. The army killed him because Macron doesn’t want people who have more than 5 kids. France have the order to Biya.

    • Macron was desvirgined by an elderly woman and was deprived of making children. He hates to see Africa ns with children
      The diseased missionary had 8. Assomo Biya and Meka ordered and their soldiers pulled the trigger

  12. May his Soul RIP . The question now is, will the Americans smoke Biya now?

    • The beginning of the end of the country call Cameroons. Signs of their last day s as two Cameroons. The marriage is over. CameroUn is a naive and stubborn spouse. Ambalanders time to turn your back from CameroUnese

  13. RIP missionary.
    There are some areas of the world God himself may have already abandoned, Cameroon included.
    To paraphrase a Chinese billionaire Jack Ma “ if you give a monkey banana and money he will choose banana because he doesn’t know money can buy a lot of banana.”
    The low IQ Equatorial greedy African has been promised financial and personal security by France in exchange for the destruction of African human potential and free natural resources.
    The low IQ leaders take the bananas offered them not knowing that the human capital and natural resources is more valuable than military protection to one person and his tribal collaborators.
    In 60yrs no roads, no water, no electricity,no hospitals, no industry!
    Who is fooling who?
    The whiteman knows your DNA, greedy low IQ leaders

  14. Charles Wesco, your death will not go unpunished. May your soul rest in peace. Cameroon would get appropriate answer and the LRC is not going to like what is coming! I bet you. The US VP is from the area where Charles comes from. Stay put and the storm is coming! Cameroon does not have a Republican Army. It has a CPDM army!

    • We would have loved to see the US speak up earlier on. The ambassador did a reversal after he cautioned Biya. Biya will give them resources and as long as the Chad pipeline oil is running through the forests to the Kribi ports en route to foreign companies, leaving locals in the same destitution, there’s little to expect. Look at the case of Saudi Arabia killing it’s own in their embassy. No consequences! It’s just one case, won’t be in the news in America & won’t make a difference. I wish his family well but it’s all a game.
      Slave seekers were killed, colonial officers were murdered in Africa but it did not deter the rich and powerful from still clinging to Africa until the resources were sapped. Today is a different phase. Biya will lure them to unleash a devastation unheard off. Watch!

  15. Still can’t understand why a man can deside to move his hole family to a war zone! That is very irresponsible.

    In a area where people only know violence, death, kidnapping, destruction, backwardness, you can’t come and teach love, understanding, respect etc…too risky.
    8 children have now lost their dad. Sad.

    • U are slow brain personne but think you smart…look around and all the conflicts westerners doing..always sending one person lile this when they are ready to come in and sacrifice him then start making their case to come into your life..they do this to common peoples in the west also..aryans only have one tactics and the peoples in power in Africa dont know aryans..5hey think by coming to europe as rich kids live with them in good house and hotel go back to Africa become president then they know aryans..u need to struggles with them in their country and day to day to understand who theses peoples are….evils..then u can protect urself

      • Look at this ignoramus calling people names.
        Are you sure you do know the “white man”.
        Go have a nap and take it easy as you sound stupid.

  16. Ah, the State department and family still playing Ngole Ngole type of politics even with the death
    of their own. This Biya man, has beaten the world. My eyes have come to terms with a man, who
    has done what Napoleon, left undone. He killed a Ghanian pastor and no dust raised, now an
    oyibo and the mouth is playing with words. Like the Cardinal said, the man biya, is God sent and
    so, let`s bow to him and sing praises. What words of wisdom from this our church men of jehova.

    • That was your goal to bring the so-called world to spread havoc in Kamerun.
      You are failing and will fail

  17. What a great loss .His death could have been prevented if only the USA had brought down its strong hand on Mr Biya instead of siding with him.As I write the army has killed more than 5000 Anglophones and the world is yet to say anything.May this missionary find a place in God’s kingdom.RIP.

  18. The statement above is very very contradictory. They said he was shot and was taken to a local hospital where he was treated,not where he died.So which one is which. The exact area where he was shot in the N.W Region is not mentioned. I hear CAF AND FIFA deligations are coming back to LRP to acertain the state of insecurity there ahead of next year’s AFCON

  19. This is a film that began long, long ago with the shooting to death of two women and their children, went unobtrusively through Kwa Kwa where old Mami Appi was similarly killed and on to Belo where Sam Soya was beheaded like an animal before coming back through Ndop, Menka Pinyin, Batibo, Bali, Bafut, Bambui, Njikwa, Kembong, Eyumojock, Nguti, Nyasoso, Kumba, Tombel, Muyuka, Bomaka, Sasse, Mutengene, etc.
    Up till now it has been a non-event for the prevaricators; now that a foreigner has been touched, its newsiness is undeniable!

    It is easy to declare war but playing by the rules of war is not so easy. Why kill journalists, missionaries, diplomats or even ordinary citizens of another country if they are not mercenaries??????????????

  20. why why go to the war zone with your families? RIP