Kazakh offered this prayer: “Through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Priests and Religious, may Jesus the crucified hearken to our prayers and hasten the unconditional release of his priest and every other abducted person.”

Nigeria has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom and, in some cases, murdering people.

An insurgency by Boko Haram, a group that allegedly aims to turn Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic nation, has been a major challenge in the country since 2009.

The latest abduction of Ukeh follows a series of other kidnappings that have targeted members of the clergy in Nigeria. Fr Oliver Buba, a priest of the Diocese of Yola, was abducted on May 21 and later released.

On May 15, the Archdiocese of Onitsha announced the abduction of Fr Basil Gbuzuo. He was later set free.--CNA