Canadian nun freed in Cameroon

Sister Gilberte Bussière was freed along with two priests in Cameroon after being abducted in...

Sister Gilberte Bussière was freed along with two priests in Cameroon after being abducted in April. (PHOTO: CONGREGATION of NOTRE-DAME)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

Gilberte Bussière, a Canadian nun who was seized by gunmen in northern Cameroon in April, has been freed.

Bussière had been captured along with two Italian priests, Gianantonio Allegri and Giampaolo Marta, on April 5. According to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bussière had been teaching with the Notre-Dame congregation in Cameroon since 1979.

A military source told the AFP that prisoners and money were exchanged for the freedom of the three captives.

"The exchange wasn't easy," the military source said. "The captors changed the drop zone several times on us. When we did rendezvous, we were taken aback by how many of them there were, and the quality of their weaponry. It seemed more sophisticated than ours."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the release of the nun and two priests was "news that fills us with joy. The Pope has been monitoring this situation very closely, and was immediately notified of their liberation.

"We continue to think about all innocent people who have been victims of kidnappings in conflicts around the world."

Busssiere was born in Asbestos, Que. in 1939. Before moving to Africa, she taught in Lac-Megantic and in Arthabaska, between 1959 and 1979.

BBC reported that while no group claimed responsibility for their abduction, suspicion has fallen on the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.

"I confirm the release of the two priests and the nun abducted a few weeks ago. They are in good health. They are now in a plane heading to Yaounde," Cameroon's communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told Reuters.

In a statement, Italy's foreign minister Federica Mogherini confirmed the trio's release and thanked Canadian and Cameroon authorities but did not disclose details of how the abduction ended.

According to their diocese website, the priests had been working on improving water supplies and fighting the spread of HIV.

-- with files from Reuters


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