Priest kidnapped in Nigeria

Yet another priest has been kidnapped in in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kaduna.

Jun 11, 2024

In Nigeria, parents and family members hold portraits of girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group. More than 4000 kidnappings have been recorded in Nigeria in the past year. (AFP or licensors)

By Christopher Wells
The Vicar General of the Diocese of Kafanchan, Nigeria, has decried the kidnapping of yet another priest in the area.”

“While we pray for the safe release of Father Ukeh,” Fr Emmanuel Kazah Faweh said, “we condemn the incessant kidnappings for ransom of innocent and defenceless citizens of our parishes.”

Father Gabriel Ukeh was kidnapped by armed men who broke into the rectory of St Thomas Church in northwestern Nigeria in the early hours of Sunday, 9 June.

Security crisis
Kidnappings are rampant throughout Nigeria, with bandits and insurgents taking people captive for hefty ransoms, but also for political or ideological reasons. More than 4,000 kidnappings have occurred since May 2023.

Earlier this year, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization issued a statement denouncing the wave of kidnappings and expressing its “deepest and heartfelt solidarity” with the Nigerian people in the face of the crisis.

Appeal to 'increase security'
In the wake of the Sunday’s kidnapping, Fr Faweh urged on the government “to increase security” ahead of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha, which takes place this year on June 15-19. Eid al-Adha is the second of the two main religious holidays celebrated by Muslims.

Father Faweh also appealed to Nigerians not to take the law into their own hands with regard to bandits. “While we are working with the security forces for the speedy release of Father Ukeh, we would like to urge everyone not to take justice into their own hands,” he said, while assuring them, “We will use all legitimate means to ensure that Father Ukeh returns to us safe and sound.”

The Vicar General concluded his statement with the prayer that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, not only Fr Ukeh but all prisoners might be freed soon.--Vatican News

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