Security

Gunmen abduct two Catholic priests in Katsina

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Terrorists on Thursday attacked a Catholic church in Katsina, St. Vincent Ferrer Malunfashi, and abducted two priests – Katsina is also the home state of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The corpse of one of the priests was however found behind the Church premises on Friday morning while one is still missing according the Catholic Church.

The incident was disclosed in a statement by the Communications Director, Diocese of Sokoto, Fr Chris Omotosho.

According to the statement, late night Thursday, “one of our parishes – St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church Malunfashi, Katsina state – was attacked by unknown gunmen.

The statement reads in parts, “2 priests were kidnapped – Frs Joe Keke and Alphonsus Bello. Fr Joe Keke the former parish priest, now in residence is in his late 70s. Fr Alphonsus Bello (parish priest) is in his 30s”.

“This morning the body of Fr Alphonsus was found (lifeless) in the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malunfashi. The whereabouts of Fr. Joe Keke is still unknown. No contact has been made thus far.”

In 2020, more than 300 school boys were abducted after gunmen raided the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in Katsina’s Kankara village and marched nearly 350 of them into the nearby Rugu forest. The Boko Haram armed group claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Criminal gangs operating in northwest Nigeria have killed more than 1,100 people in the first half of 2020 alone, according to rights group Amnesty International.

In the northeast, Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have waged a 10-year rebellion estimated to have displaced about two million people and killed more than 30,000.

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