One of the two Catholic priests kidnapped on July 15 in Kafanchan has been killed while the other escaped from his captors, the Catholic Church announced on Tuesday.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the priests, Donatus Suleiman and John Cheitnum, were kidnapped on July 15 at the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Garu in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State after they arrived there on an assignment.
In a statement on Tuesday by the counsellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Emmanuel Okolo, the church said Mr Suleiman escaped his captors and has reunited with the church, but added that: “it is with deep sense of sorrow and pains that the bishop, clergy, religious and laity of the diocese of Kafanchan announce the gruesome murder of very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum.”
The statement added that Mr Cheitnum was murdered on the day he was kidnapped and his corpse was later discovered almost decomposing on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Mr Cheitnum was until his death the CAN chairman of Jama’a local government of Kaduna State as well as the coordinating chairman of CAN in southern Kaduna. He was also the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, director of communications in the diocese of Kafanchan and pastor of Saint James Parish in Jama’a local government.
Mr Okolo added that Mr Chietnum will be buried on July 21 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Kafanchan, at 10 a.m.
He added that the diocese has declared two-day mourning for the deceased.
Mr Okolo also called on Catholics to pray for the family of the deceased and called on the general public to refrain from taking the law into their hands.
Kidnapping and Catholic Priests
Kidnapping for ransom has become a menace in Nigeria. Scores of people are kidnapped monthly in different parts of the country.
Many Catholic priests have also fallen prey to the gruesome act, especially in Kaduna and Edo states.
Between July 2 and 4, the Catholic Church confirmed the kidnap of at least four priests, namely, Udo Peter and Philemon Uboh who were both kidnapped in Edo State on July 2; Luigi Brena, an Italian priest kidnapped on July 3 in Edo State and Emmanuel Silas, who was kidnapped in Kaduna on July 4.
The priests were later released by their abductors allegedly after the payment of ransom.
In late June, however, two Catholic priests kidnapped in Kaduna and Edo states were both killed by their abductors, PREMIUM TIMES reported.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999