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World News

Nigerian abducted Catholic Priest regains freedom

by Alex Collett

A Nigerian Catholic priest who was abducted, in an armed raid in southern Kaduna has regained his freedom.

Rev Fr Joseph Danjuma Shekari of St Monica’s Catholic Church, Ikulu Parish was abducted on 6 February, in a raid in in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA) in which one person was killed.

His release comes amidst emerging news that an intermediary delivering the ransom payment on 25 January for the last student still in captivity after being abducted from Bethel Baptist High School, was himself taken hostage.

Rev Fr Joseph Danjuma Shekari of St Monica’s Catholic Church, Ikulu Parish, was released at around 10.30pm on 7 February by his abductors, who had raided his home at around 11.30pm on the previous evening, killing his cook, who was reportedly a student at the Government Secondary School, Kizakoro.

According to one source, the kidnappers also seized “the sum of N2 million that was realised from a thanksgiving service, and other valuables.”

Confirmation of Rev Fr Shekari’s release came in a statement from the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, in which he thanked all who had prayed for his release, and called for prayers for the repose of the soul of his cook and the swift release of all who are still in the hands of kidnappers.

According to the Secretary of the Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev John Joseph Hayab, over 18 pastors, priests and Christian leaders have been abducted for ransom in Kaduna state in the last two years.
Additionally, millions of Naira have been paid to secure their releases, while six have been killed by their captors. 

In a comment to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) Rev John Joseph Hayab added that Rev Fr Shekari’s abduction “further shows that Christian clergy are no longer safe in Kaduna state and in northern Nigeria.

“Gradually, bandits have turned this noble calling into a dangerous vocation to venture in to.”

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