ACI Africa, Sep 19, 2023 / 16:20 pm (CNA).
Prayers are being sought for the safe release of Father Marcellinus Obioma Okide, who was reportedly abducted from Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese on Sept. 17.
In a Sept. 19 statement obtained by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, the diocese’s chancellor provided details about the abduction. Okide, who serves as a parish priest at St. Mary Amofia-Agu Affa Parish, was on his way back to the parish in the late afternoon when he was kidnapped along the road.
“The diocese requests your prayers for the quick and wholesome release of Father Okide and for a change of heart on the part of the kidnappers,” Father Wilfred Chidi Agubuchie said.
“It is quite disheartening that this evil scheme is still plaguing our people,” Agubuchie continued. “May the Lord who came to set captives free (Lk 4:18) deliver our brother from the hands of our enemies and save our country Nigeria.”
Nigeria has experienced insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.
Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.
The situation in the country has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia.
The Sept. 17 abduction of Okide is the latest of a series of kidnappings of members of the clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.
On Aug. 2, a priest and seminarian were abducted from the Diocese of Minna. Father Paul Sanogo from Mali and seminarian Melchior Mahinini from Tanzania were released on Aug. 23 after three weeks in captivity.
This story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s news partner in Africa, and has been adapted by CNA.
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