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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Catholic priests abducted in Central Nigeria, Vatican calls for safe return of clergy

Published Jul 6, 2022

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Cape Town - A Nigerian Catholic priest was abducted from his rectory in the town of Zambina in the northern state of Kaduna in the early hours of Monday, the local Catholic diocese said in a statement.

According to initial reports, parishioners went to look for Father Emmanuel Silas after waiting in vain for him to conduct the morning mass.

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Okolo said Father Emmanuel Silas’ abduction was confirmed when he failed to turn up for morning Mass. He equally called for calm and said legitimate processes would be followed to ensure his safe and quick release, according to initial reports.

It is not clear who carried out the abduction.

Furthermore, the Vatican confirmed on Tuesday that gunmen had kidnapped Father Peter Udo of St Patrick’s Catholic Church Uromi, in Esan North East, and Father Philemon Oboh of St Joseph Retreat Centre, Ugboha, in Esan South East local government area on Saturday, after attacking the car they were in along the Benin-Ekpoma express-way.

It was reported that the priests had attended a programme in Benin and were on their way back to Uromi when the incident occurred, reported Vatican News.va.

According to a spokesperson for the Edo State Police Command said that “the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ugboha police Division has called to inform that one Rev Father Amos Abhulimen on Saturday came to the station to report the kidnap of the two Rev Fathers.”

“Based on the report,” said the spokesperson, “the state Commissioner of Police Abutu Yaro has dispatched a team of policemen as a reinforcement to the men of Ugboha division to go for the rescue of the two Catholic Priests unhurt and get the kidnappers arrested.”

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The latest kidnapping comes after gunmen last week abducted four Chinese workers with some local employees and killed an unknown number of people at a mine in Niger state in northwestern Nigeria.

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