Catholic Priest Kidnapped In Nigeria
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
ABUJA (Worthy News) – There were concerns Tuesday about the whereabouts of a Catholic priest who was kidnapped in Nigeria‘s southeastern Imo State, several sources confirmed.
Jude Kingsley Maduka, a parish priest of the Christ the King parish in the Ezinnachi-Ugwaku community of Okigwe Local Government Area, was abducted on May 19, Catholic officials said.
The kidnapping happened while he was visiting the “newly built chapel for Eucharistic adoration in the Ogii village of Okigwe,” the chancellor of the Okigwe diocese explained.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the abduction, but mainly Muslim gunmen have attacked churches and kidnapped their leaders and other Christians.
Between 2021 and 2022, five priests were kidnapped in the diocese of Okigwe alone, well-informed Catholics said.
On April 15 of this year, another priest belonging to the clergy of the Okigwe diocese, Michael Ifeanyi Asomugha, “was captured by bandits,” his church said.
The latest kidnapping happened while driving on the Oriagu-Obowo highway after “a diaconal ordination. He was released a few days later, thanks to his family,” well-informed Catholics said.
A Catholic aid and advocacy group
noted the “ever-growing” kidnappings of priests in Nigeria. Aid to the Church in Need added it “expresses strong concern for this criminal phenomenon,” which, despite reassurances from authorities, “continues to proliferate with no serious, effective action to stem it.”
Kidnapping has become a significant security challenge in Nigeria which for over ten years has also faced attacks by Islamic groups such as Boko Haram targeting churches, Christians, Muslim critics, as well as State institutions.
The Islamic militants aim to overthrow Nigeria’s secular government and establish an Islamic state.
Since 2009, more than 35,000 people, many of them Christians, have been killed in northern Nigeria by Islamic violence, and nearly 2 million have been displaced, according to researchers.
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