News 13 Oct 2021

Three seminarians abducted from chapel

Three seminarians from Nigeria’s conflict-stricken Middle Belt were kidnapped from their college chapel last night (Monday) and six others were injured.

The abducted seminarians are all fourth-year theology students and belong to the Apostles of Divine Charity and the Little Sons of the Eucharist Congregation.  At the time of the attack, shortly after 7.20 pm, more than 130 seminarians were on-site, alongside the rector and staff. 

Father Emmanuel Okolo, chancellor of the Diocese of Kafanchan, which runs the seminary, said: “We ask for your closeness to us in praying for the quick and safe release of our abducted brothers. Well-wishers of our… seminary are hereby encouraged to desist from taking the laws into their hands. We would use every legitimate means to ensure their prompt and secure release.”

Soldiers were quickly on the scene at Christ the King Major Seminary, in Fayat, Kaduna State and rushed the wounded students to the hospital. They have since been discharged. The six wounded seminarians were treated at Salem Hospital in Kafanchan but Father Okolo said they were released “after being confirmed to be stable.”

Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President of Aid to the Church in Need International, said: “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 goodwill 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.” 

Clergy kidnappings are becoming more common in some parts of Nigeria. Describing the security situation in Nigeria as "dire", Dr Heine-Geldern called on the government to ensure the safety of citizens, saying the country "runs the risk of becoming a failed state."

On 8th January 2020, four seminarians were kidnapped from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaduna, of whom three were released but the fourth and youngest, Michael Nnadi, aged 18, was killed.

- By John Pontifex

Featured Image: Dr Thomas Heine Geldern, ACN International Executive President. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

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