One of the two Catholic priests kidnapped on July 15 in Kafanchan was killed while the other escaped his captors, the Catholic Church announced Tuesday.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the priests, Donatus Suleiman and John Cheitnum, were kidnapped on July 15 from the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Garu in the Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State after they arrived there on a mission.
In a statement Tuesday from Kafanchan Catholic Diocese counselor Emmanuel Okolo, the church said Suleiman escaped his captors and was reunited with the church, but added: “It is with a deep sense of sadness and sorrow that Bishop , clerics, religious and laity of the diocese of Kafanchan announce the shocking murder of the very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum”.
The statement added that Mr. Cheitnum was killed the day he was abducted and his body was later discovered nearly decomposing on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Cheitnum was chairman of the CAN of the Jama’a local government of Kaduna state until his death, as well as the coordinating chairman of the CAN in southern Kaduna. He was also dean of the Kwoi deanery, director of communications in the diocese of Kafanchan, and pastor of Saint James parish in the local government of Jama’a.
Mr. Okolo added that Mr. Chietnum will be buried on July 21 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Kafanchan, at 10 a.m.
He added that the diocese has declared two days of mourning for the deceased.
Mr. Okolo also asked Catholics to pray for the family of the deceased and called on the general public to refrain from taking justice into their own hands.
Kidnapping and Catholic priests
Kidnapping for ransom has become a threat in Nigeria. Dozens of people are kidnapped every month in different parts of the country.
Many Catholic priests have also fallen victim to the gruesome act, especially in Kaduna and Edo states.
Between July 2 and 4, the Catholic Church confirmed the kidnapping of at least four priests, namely Udo Peter and Philemon Uboh, who were kidnapped in Edo state on July 2; Luigi Brena, an Italian priest kidnapped on July 3 in Edo state and Emmanuel Silas, kidnapped in Kaduna on July 4.
The priests were later released by their kidnappers, allegedly after the payment of the ransom.
However, in late June, two kidnapped Catholic priests in Kaduna and Edo states were killed by their kidnappers, PREMIUM TIMES reported.