18 Priests Kidnapped, 3 Killed In Nigeria
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ABUJA (Worthy News) – At least 18 priests have been kidnapped, and several were killed in Nigeria this year, prompting church leaders to call for prayers, a Catholic charity said Tuesday.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) added that five of those kidnapped since early 2022 were abducted in the first week of July alone. “Although most were released unharmed, three were killed,” ACN added in a statement obtained by Worthy News. Most of the kidnappings were carried out by Islamic fighters, often linked to terror and crime groups.
The Nigerian Diocesan Catholic Priests Association (NDCPA) stressed in published remarks that “it is really sad that in the course of their normal pastoral activities, priests have become an endangered species.”
The NDCPA noted, “Attempts have been made at various levels to cry to the government. But as already observed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, ‘it is clear to the nation that [the Government] has failed in [its] primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens’”.
In a statement shared by ACN, the NDCPA urged protesters “not to react with violence” as “we are not terrorists or a war troupe.”
The NDCPA questioned the “usefulness” of priests participating in street protests saying, “Our ministerial journey consists in the proclamation of the word of God. And the celebration of the Holy Eucharist as a memorial of Christ and His mission on earth.”
This implies “that we carry along with us the Holy Books and not weapons. Christ never encouraged us to raise arms against anybody nor take up any action in vengeance. We do not take arms, and we will not,” the NDCPA added.
The group said it is holding a week of prayer and fasting to improve security in troubled Nigeria. “Our duty [as priests] is to lay before the altar of God the gratitude, cares, worries, and petitions of the faithful and ours. We are advocates of pro-life and peace.”
The priests explained, “We were called and sent to preach the good news to the poor, give liberty to captives, free the oppressed, heal the broken-hearted, bind up wounds, and the like. We have been fulfilling this call, and we shall continue,” despite ongoing violence and abductions of the clergy.
Thousands of Christians have been killed over the last year making Nigeria one of the most violent nations for believers, according to rights investigators.
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