Nigeria: Kidnapped Catholic priest finds freedom

Prof. Joseph Shekari, Priest of St. Monica Catholic Church, Ikulu Pari in Kaduna State, has been released after a day in captivity.

By the editor of Vatican News

A priest from the Diocese of Kafanchan, Fr. Joseph Danjuma Shekari, who was abducted on Sunday evening, has regained his freedom.

The chancellor of the diocese, Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, in a statement on Tuesday, confirmed the development. He said the priest was released around 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Unknown individuals had stormed Fr. Shekari’s residence at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Ikulu Pari, Kauru Local Government Area of ​​Kaduna State, and abducted the priest at 11:30 p.m. on the 6th February.

But less than 24 hours after the attack that claimed the life of the priest’s cook, the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan announced the priest’s release.

Acknowledgement

Prof. Okolo expressed his gratitude to all for their prayers for the safe return of the priest and offered prayers to God to hasten the release of those still in the hands of their captors.

He also invited prayers for the rest of the priest’s cook who was tragically killed in the attack.

“All our priests are kindly requested to celebrate the Mass of thanksgiving to God for the speedy release of Fr. Shekari as well as the Mass for the dead and for the late cook of Fr. Shekari,” reads the communicated.

Insecurity in Northern Nigeria

Nigeria, particularly the northern region, is grappling with insecurity, fueled by the activities of religious extremists Boko Haram who have been linked to the so-called Islamic State West Africa Province. (ISWAP). Clashes between nomadic herders and indigenous local farmers have also raised concern from authorities.

More recently, the activities of kidnappers and bandits have challenged the efforts of security agencies with increasing reports of kidnappings for ransom and unknown gunmen raiding communities, stealing livestock and killing people.

One of the latest attacks left as many as 11 people dead in Kurmin Masara, Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State, when gunmen attacked the village on February 1st.

The insecurity situation has prompted calls from religious leaders and members of civil society, urging the authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens.

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