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Photo supplied by Aid to the Church in Need
Screenshot 2024-03-25 155459.png
Photo supplied by Aid to the Church in Need
World News

'They are also called to salvation': Nigerian priest shares story of abduction and empathy for his captors

by Lydia Davies

A Nigerian priest abducted and held for ransom by gunmen has, for the first time, given a harrowing account of the fear and humiliation he suffered in captivity when speaking with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Fr Idahosa Amadasu revealed that he was uncertain of his survival after being captured by masked men while driving on a notoriously dangerous road in the Benin Diocese, southern Nigeria. He emphasised his determination not to let the kidnappers take his "inner freedom" or allow "the atmosphere of fear to consume my inner peace".

“Prayer was my best way to ensure this," he said, adding: "It was only when I maintained my inner peace that I could continue to be sane and act rationally in an irrational atmosphere, where might is right.”

Despite the physical demands of being constantly on the move, including traversing forests and climbing hills in darkness, Fr Amadasu remained steadfast in his faith.

He frequently recited prayers to St Michael and found strength in the protection of the rosary, which he was reciting at the moment of his encounter with the kidnappers.

Once released, Fr Amadasu harbored no animosity towards his captors; instead, he felt pity for them and prayed for their conversion. He noted moments suggesting their lingering connection to faith, such as a kidnapper pausing to pray before negotiations and another expressing gratitude to God.

He said: "The way they often referred to God really set me thinking that these men are also children of God who are called to salvation…".

Fr Amadasu's reflections on scripture bolstered his belief that divine power surpasses worldly threats. He concluded with a message of hope and resilience: "God knows how to bring out the best from even the worst situations... We trust in his constant protection to lead us through until we reach our final destination where evil can no longer disturb our inner peace".

He recalled how “the words of John 1 4:4 kept ringing in my ears: ‘Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.'”

Fr Amadasu concluded: “God knows how to bring out the best from even the worst situations; His hand is never shortened."

ACN highlighted that Fr Amadasu's story is not isolated. Hundreds of Catholic priests have fallen victim to kidnappings by armed bandits in Nigeria over recent decades, with 28 church personnel abducted in 2023 alone.


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