An American missionary who moved to Cameroon about two weeks ago was shot and killed in what his family is calling a “targeted attack” amid fighting between armed separatists and soldiers.
Charles Trumann Wesco, his wife Stephanie and their eight children had moved from their home in Warsaw, Indiana to Bamenda – a major city in northwest Cameroon – earlier this month.
While driving into town to go shopping Tuesday, Wesco was shot in the head. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died.
Wesco's brother, Indiana state representative Tim Wesco, told ABC News the killing appeared to be a “targeted” attack.
“[It was] quite probable he was targeted because he was a white, English-speaking American,” he added.
Charles Wesco and his family made the decision to permanently move across the Atlantic after years of missions to Africa and decided on Cameroon after a visit in 2015, his family said.
Dave Halyman, an assistant pastor at Believers Baptist Church in Warsaw, Indiana, where Stephanie Wesco’s father, Don Williams, is the senior pastor, told the Associated Press the family had raised money for the move during the last two years.
They had been in Cameroon just 12 days before the shooting.
“We’re shocked and grieving at what’s occurred. We’re trying to get over the shock of losing someone as wonderful as Charles was,” Halyman said. “While we don’t like this, we understand that God has a great purpose.”
Tim Wesco told ABC News that his brother and sister-in-law’s purpose with moving to Cameroon was “to share the love of Christ with people in a very poor and strife-ribbed country.”
He added: “That was their passion, and that was their life – to share Jesus Christ.”
Bamenda is in Cameroon’s northwest region, the restive English-speaking area where armed separatists have been fighting with the military in an attempt to create an independent state. A former French colony, Cameroon is largely French-speaking, except for two provinces where English is the major language.
Tim Wesco said Stephanie and the eight children, who were unharmed in the fatal attack, are still in Cameroon. The family hopes to get them out now.
“We’re very concerned about the safety of the family,” he told ABC News.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.