Nigeria: Father Ozigi released; two other priests still in the hands of kidnappers.
Father Leo Raphael Ozigi, parish priest of St. Mary's Church, Sarkin Pawa Village, Munya Local Government Area, Niger State abducted on 27 March has been released. Father Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications in the Archdiocese of Abuja confirmed the release. He said, no ransom was paid by the Church.
"For years, the Bishops of Nigeria have decided that the Church should never pay ransom for the release of kidnapped priests or men and women religious," explained Fr. Alumuku. "This, however, does not necessarily stop family members and friends of the kidnapped persons from taking steps to find the sums of money demanded by the kidnappers," he added.
According to sources in the Diocese of Minna, "a member of the priest's family was directly involved in the negotiations and the subsequent release of the Catholic priest," Fr. Alumuku said.
Two other priests still in captivity
Father Ozigi was released over the weekend on the Kaduna-Zaria road. According to local media sources, the priest was being held captive in a forest of Kaduna state.
Besides Father Ozigi, two other priests were abducted in Nigeria in March, both from the northern state of Kaduna: Father Joseph Akete Bako, parish priest of St John's Church, Kudenda, in the local government area of Kaduna South, was kidnapped on the night of 8 March during an assault on the parish house in which one person was killed. Also still being held is Fr. Felix Zakari Fidson, of the Diocese of Zaria. He was kidnapped on 24 March.