A priest of the Congregation of Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy was kidnapped in Nigeria Tuesday while traveling to his father’s funeral.
Fr. Valentine Ezeagu was driving in the southeastern Imo state of Nigeria Dec. 15 when four armed men came out from the bush and forced him to the back of his car and sped off, a statement from the priest’s religious congregation said, citing an eyewitness from the road.
The priest was en route to his home village in Anambra state, where his father’s funeral Mass is scheduled to be held on Dec. 17.
His religious congregation is calling for “fervent prayers for his immediate release.”
Fr. Ezeagu’s abduction comes after the kidnapping last week of hundreds of schoolboys in the northwestern Nigerian state of Katsina. On Dec. 15, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack on the school from which 300 students remain missing.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja decried the high rate of kidnappings and deaths in Nigeria, calling for the government to take more security measures.
“The incidents of killings and kidnapping currently going on in Nigeria is now posing a significant threat to all the citizens,” he said in a facebook post Dec. 15.
“Right now, insecurity is the greatest challenge facing the nation. The level of incidents and the apparent impunity have become unacceptable and cannot be excused, for whatever reason,” he said.
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