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Two Catholic priests abducted in Nigeria

by Donna Birrell

Two Catholic priests have been abducted in northern Nigeria, after unidentified gunmen attacked their church in the early hours of the morning.

The kidnappers are said to have broken into St. Patrick Catholic Church in Katsina state and seized Fr. Stephen Ojapa; another priest, Fr. Oliver Okpara and two unidentified boys.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Sokoto read: "As at midnight of today, 25th May, 2022, gunmen broke into the rectory of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Gidan Maikambo, Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State.

"The parish priest and his assistant Rev. Frs. Stephen Ojapa, and Oliver Okpara and 2 other boys in the house were kidnapped. Kindly pray for their safety and release."

It's the latest in a series of abductions and attacks on church institutions, priests and the faithful, particularly in northern Nigeria. The Boko Haram Islamic extremist group is behind many of the attacks, but unidentified gunmen are responsible for a growing number of security threats.   

Earlier this month, churches in the Sokoto diocese were vandalised by protesters demonstrating against the arrest of suspects after the killing of a young Christian woman.

Deborah Yakubu was stoned to death and burned by male students at a college in the region after being accused of blasphemy. 

She had reportedly testified that Jesus Christ helped her pass exams, and was then accused of making blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad.


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