Nigeria: Another Catholic Priest Kidnapped

Father Leo Raphael Ozigi is another priest kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria

Newsroom (March 30, 2022, 2:45 PM, Gaudium Press) A Catholic priest is among the 45 people who were kidnapped by terrorists last Sunday, March 27 in Nigeria.

According to local reports, Fr. Leo Raphael Ozigi of St. Mary Parish in Sarkin Pawa was taken hostage along with other villagers.

The kidnapping happened after the Mass that Fr. Leo celebrated at St. Mary’s parish in the Minna diocese. The priest was returning to his residence at Christ the King parish in Gwada when he was kidnapped by the criminals, explained Fr. Emeka Amanchukwu.

In a letter to the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Fr. Amanchukwu asks that the kidnapping be reported to as many bishops and priests as possible and asks for prayers and Masses for the priest’s release: “We entrust Fr. Leo and the other captives to the maternal intercession and protection of Mary, Mother of Mercy.”

Violence, kidnappings and persecution

One of the villagers explained that the kidnapped people had just returned to their homes. They were previously in a protected territory. The government, however, encouraged people to return to their villages by promising security measures.

The villager, identified as Shehu Abubakar, lamented that this violence happened again: “People started to return on Saturday (to the village) and these criminals invaded again.”

Fr. Ozigi’s kidnapping joins the list of many other kidnapped religious in the country. The most recent case was Father Felix Zakari in Kaduna state, kidnapped last Friday, March 25.

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Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has seen an increase in violence, especially with the emergence of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram in 2009.

Boko Haram is one of the largest terrorist groups on the African continent and promotes attacks against different targets, especially against religious institutions. (FM)

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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