Officials say two Italian priests and a Canadian nun working as missionaries in northern Cameroon have been abducted.
Italy’s foreign ministry said the abduction occurred during the night between Friday and Saturday about 30 kilometres from the border with Nigeria.
The ministry identified the priests as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri, but declined to give other details, including the Canadian’s identity, to avoid compromising efforts for the missionaries’ release.
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said Pope Francis was told early Saturday about the abduction, was praying for the three and “expressed hope for a solution.” Benedettini said the priests were assigned from the Vicenza diocese in northeast Italy.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted diocesan officials as saying the nun is 80.
Armed gunmen are reported to have pulled up to the building where the nun and priests were staying at around 2 a.m. local time. The place was then ransacked before the three were taken hostage.
Locally police have blamed the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram. Its violent attacks are blamed for more than 1,500 deaths this year.