Nigerian priest abducted and released, officials increase security measures

Enugu, Nigeria, Oct 30, 2019 / 06:12 pm (CNA).- The vice-rector of a seminary in Nigeria was kidnapped earlier this week and released two days later, the latest in the ongoing violence against priests that has led Enugu State authorities to ramp up security efforts.

Father Arinze Madu, the vice-rector for the Queen of Apostles Seminary, was taken by unknown gunmen while exiting the seminary at around 6 p.m. on Monday, according to local media reports.

According to the Nigerian newspaper The Punch, a state police public relations officer said the priest was released Wednesday and was unharmed. Because security forces were still involved in the mission, he declined to give further details about the operation.

Father Benjamin Achi, director of communications for the Diocese of Enugu, described the abduction as “terrifying.” He said that this year alone, several priests have either been attacked or killed in the southern Nigerian state of Enugu.

“This incident is coming barely two months after Rev. Fr. Offu was gruesomely killed by gunmen at Ihe-Agbudu Road [in] August,” he said, according to The Punch.

“Before Fr. Offu’s murder, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Ilo was attacked by Fulani Herdsmen along Numeh-Nenwe road in Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state,” he added.

Since these attacks, the state has increased security measures, by implementing forest guards, neighborhood watch services, and air surveillance. According to the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Post, the state government has also purchased 260 vehicles, including cars, bikes, and motorcycles, for their security forces.

In a recent statement, the Enugu State government said it was committed “to make the state safe and to sustain the enviable status of Enugu as one of the safest and most peaceful states in Nigeria,” the Daily Post reported.

“[The] government will continue to support the security agencies to secure lives and property of the people,” read the statement.

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