Three seminarians are abducted in Nigeria, freed after two days

THREE SEMINARIANS FROM NIGERIA’S CONFLICT-STRICKEN MIDDLE BELT WERE KIDNAPPED from their college chapel Oct. 12 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, more than 130 seminarians were on site, alongside the rector and staff.

Diocese Kafanchan

In a message sent out to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Oct. 15, Father. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, announced the good news. “With hearts filled with joy, we raise our voices in a symphony of praises as we announce the return of our three major seminarians, who were abducted by armed persons.”

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 was an abominable act. 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.”

In a further message sent to Aid to the Church in Need International Father Emmanuel Faweh Kazah, director of the Albertine’s Institute and teacher at the seminary from where the young men were abducted, shows defiance in the face of the persecution that Christians in Nigeria have been experiencing.

“We were beaten but we won’t stay down. We won’t allow ourselves to be cowed by threats emanating from men and women of the underworld. We will courageously carry the torch of the Gospel to the ends of the earth notwithstanding the barrage of attacks on the Christian faith!”

On January 8, 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.

—John Pontifex