A missionary priest abducted in Nigeria’s Archdiocese of Jos earlier this month has been released.
Father Marcellus Nwaohuocha - a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) - was kidnapped on 17th June following an armed attack at St. Paul Bomo Catholic Parish. The parish’s security guard was killed in the attack.
The OMI released a statement on Sunday 18th June calling for prayers and Nwaohuocha’s safe return.
The Order’s superior in Nigeria, Father Peter Klaver, said Nwaohuocha was abducted after the gunmen “forcefully gained entry into the parish house.”
The kidnappers shot his security guard, who died en route to the hospital.
Early on Tuesday the OMI announced Nwaohuocha’s release, giving thanks to God and calling for further prayer for his recovery. A social media post from the organisation says he was tortured by his oppressors before being released in the early hours of 20th June, with significant head injuries.
“We thank God for the release of our brother the P. Marcellus Nwaohuocha, OMI (Cameroon Province - Mission Nigeria),” the online statement reads.
“Thanks to your prayers, Father was discharged tonight, June 19-20. He was tortured, he has deep wounds on his head. He is currently in the hospital for treatment.
“Let’s pray for full recovery of his health and for the repose of the soul of the deceased leaving behind a family (wife and children).”
The abduction of Nwaohuocha is the latest in a series of clergy kidnappings and murders within the past month.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Father Jeremiah Yakubu, a priest of Kafanchan Diocese, was kidnapped on 11th June and later released.
On 7th June, Father Charles Onomhoale Igechi, a member of the clergy of Benin City Archdiocese was shot dead while Father Stanislaus Mbamara, a priest ministering in Nigeria’s Nnewi Diocese, was kidnapped on 2nd June and later released.
The Christian Association of Nigeria has called on the government to step up and strengthen security in the nation, stating “it is clear that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria can reach its full potential.”