A Nigerian archbishop has asked for prayers for the safe release of a priest kidnapped in Abuja earlier this week.
Fr. Matthew Dajo was kidnapped on Sunday night. Police are currently working to negotiate his release, the archdiocesan spokesman, Fr. Patrick Alumuku, told CNA Nov. 27.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja appealed for prayers for the abducted priest at a virtual event on persecuted Christians Nov. 25.
“My priest in Abuja was kidnapped and he is still in captivity. Kindly pray for his safe release, please,” the archbishop said.
Dajo was abducted by gunmen during an attack on the town of Yangoji, where his parish St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is located.
“Armed bandits raided the community and shot sporadically for about 30 minutes,” Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor told CNA’s African news partner, ACI Africa.
“The gunmen scaled through the fence of the priest’s house, while others positioned themselves outside, before entering Fr. Matthew’s bedroom and whisking him away.”
Kidnappings of Catholics in Nigeria are an ongoing problem that not only affects priests and seminarians, but also lay faithful, Kaigama said.
“We have cases of abductions, detentions, and killings by terrorist groups, criminal herdsmen, bandits, and gangs of kidnappers to contend with,” he said.
“Last week, in one of our parishes in Abuja archdiocese behind the parish house, five children of the same parents were kidnapped, and the following day a woman preparing for her church wedding was also kidnapped. They have not been found.”
The Islamist group Boko Haram has been behind many of the abductions, including that of 110 students kidnapped from their boarding school in Feb. 2018. Of those kidnapped, one girl, Leah Sharibu, is still being held.
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