Kafanchan, Nigeria, Oct 12, 2021 / 15:00 pm (CNA).
Three seminarians were abducted Monday night from their seminary in Nigeria’s Kaduna state. Another six were injured during the attack, and were taken to hospital and then discharged.
Christ the King Major Seminary in Fayit, Fadam Kagoma, about 10 miles southwest of Kafanchan, was attacked by bandits around 7:30 pm Oct. 11.
The three seminarians who were abducted from the seminary chapel belong to the Apostles of Divine Charity and the Little Sons of the Eucharist, and are all in their fourth year of theology.
Christ the King Seminary houses more than 130 seminarians.
“We ask for your closeness to us in praying for the quick and safe release of our abducted brothers,” Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, chancellor of the Diocese of Kafanchan, wrote in an Oct. 12 memo.
“Well-wishers of our Institute and Seminary are hereby encouraged to desist from taking the laws into their hands,” the priest added. “We would use every legitimate means to ensure their prompt and secure release. May Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and St. Wilfred intercede for our abducted brothers and all other kidnapped persons.”
Fr. Okoloadded that the six seminarian who were injured were taken with some formators to a hospital in Kafanchan by “a dispatch of soldiers of the Operation Safe Haven.” The injured were treated and discharged after being confirmed to be stable.”
Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need International, commented that “The kidnapping of innocent young seminarians – once again – in Nigeria is an abominable act. We appeal to the conscience of their kidnappers and urge them to release these young people. We ask people of good will to join us in praying that the three seminarians will soon be released unharmed. At the same time, we call on international communities not to look away from the atrocities that occur every day and the ongoing suffering of Christians due to Boko Haram, Fulani attacks and acts of violence by bandits in the whole country.”
He called on Nigeria’s government to ensure its citizens’ safety, saying the country “runs the risk of becoming a failed state.”
A priest of the Kafanchan diocese was kidnapped last month. Fr. Benson Bulus Luka was abducted from his residence Sept. 13, and released after little more than 24 hours.
And gunmen abducted four seminarians from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna in January 2020, holding them for random. The kidnappers eventually released three of the seminarians, but killed 18-year-old Michael Nnadi after he refused to renounce his faith.
Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent years, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.
Fulani herders, most of whom are Muslim, have had increasing conflict with largely Christian farmers over limited natural resources in Kaduna and other states in recent years, and the radical Islamist group Boko Haram continues to threaten safety in Nigeria’s north.
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