Church prays for release of kidnapped priest and seminarian in Nigeria


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ACI Prensa Staff, Aug 9, 2023 / 16:05 pm (CNA).

Bishop Martin Igwemezie Uzoukwu of Minna, Nigeria, called for prayers for the release of a priest and a seminarian who were kidnapped by armed men on Aug. 3 in the north-central part of the country.

“I ask for your prayers for Father Paul Sanogo and the seminarian Melchior who were kidnapped by bandits in the early morning of Aug. 3 at the priest’s residence in Gyedna, Niger state,” the prelate said in a statement released on the day of the kidnapping.

“We pray the Lord hears our prayers and brings them back in peace,” he added. Sanogo, originally from Burkina Faso, is a missionary with the congregation of the Missionaries of Africa, known as the White Fathers, and Melkiori Dominick Mahinini is a seminarian from the town of Kigoma in Tanzania who does missionary work with the congregation.

Joseph Mlola, the bishop of Kigoma, said Mahinini was in Nigeria for “a missionary experience” before starting his theological studies. “We pray to God that the two abductees may soon have their freedom back,” he said.

Both Sanogo and the seminarian serve at St. Luke’s Church in Gyedna, in the Paikoro local government area, in the north-central state of Niger.

The Fides news agency reported that a representative of the Niger state police confirmed the kidnapping and has recommended that the other members of the clergy in the area exercise extreme caution while a search is conducted for the missing men.

In addition, the archbishop of Mbeya, Gervas John Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga, the president of the Tanzanian Bishops’ Conference, once again emphasized “the importance of respecting human rights principles” and that as the Church, “we support diplomatic efforts to guarantee that the abducted persons be freed unconditionally.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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