An American missionary was shot to death this week in Cameroon while riding in the car with his wife and son.
Charles Wesco of Indiana was out to shop when two bullets struck him through the windshield, according to Dave Halyaman, assistant pastor at Believers Baptist Church in Warsaw, Indiana.
The bullets knocked Wesco unconscious, and doctors were unable to revive him at the hospital.
Believers Baptist Church “is grieving greatly the murder of Charles Wesco, but we are also trusting God that he has a purpose in all of this,” Halyaman says.
Halyaman says officials are unsure who shot the missionary. According to The Washington Post, the area is strife with violence.
Unrest broke out in that region in late 2016 over complaints that the Anglophone community was being marginalized by Cameroon’s central government, which is largely controlled by French speakers. The country is bilingual, but Francophones have historically held more governmental power than English speakers. Security forces stifled peaceful protests in the Anglophone regions, and an armed separatist movement emerged. Around 400 civilians have been killed in violence in the country’s two Anglophone regions. Tens of thousands have fled the country as refugees and others are now internally displaced.
According to the Indy Star:
Military spokesman Col. Didier Badjeck told the AP 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.
Cameroon’s military said last week after launching attacks on suspected separatist training grounds that “many have been killed.” The attacks happened the day after President Paul Biya was declared the winner of a seventh term.
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.
Armed factions emerged after the government crackdown and have been using violence to push for an independent state they call “Ambazonia.”
Wesco and his wife, Stephanie, had just moved to the African nation about two weeks ago.
“He was really wound up about everything. He was really excited about everything and well, he is a hard worker,” says Rebecca Wesco, Wesco’s mother.
Wesco’s brother. Tim, is a Republican representative for the state of Indiana.
Tim says, “He loved the Lord. He loved people. The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“My husband already prayed for his killer,” Rebecca says. “Charles would want us to do that, he would.”
In a prayer letter dated September/October, the family writes:
“We are humbled to be here representing Christ on your behalf, and we trust that you are upholding us before the Lord in prayer regularly! Your continued prayers are vital, if we are to be successful in bringing the gospel to this dark place!”