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Nigeria: Catholic priest abducted in Kaduna Archdiocese

Fr. Joseph Aketeh was kidnapped on Tuesday during an attack by gunmen on St. John Catholic Church in Kudenda, Nigeria.

By Vatican News staff writer

A priest serving in the Archdiocese of Kaduna, northern Nigeria was abducted by unknown gunmen on Tuesday.

Initial reports say that Fr. Joseph Aketeh of St. John Catholic Church, Kudenda, Kaduna South local government area, was seized in an attack in the early hours of the morning on 8 March.

The gunmen reportedly invaded the Church in large numbers at 1:25 am and shot sporadically before gaining access into the Church. A security guard was killed during the attack, while the assistant parish priest was able to escape being abducted.

Some local news sources also note that at least two other people were kidnapped by the attackers and taken to an unknown destination.

Fr. Andrew Dodo, the dean of Romi deanery of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, confirmed the incidents and said the kidnappers had not yet reached out with demands for a ransom. He called on Nigerians to pray for the release of people who are in the kidnappers’ dens.


Nigeria has been battling an insecurity challenge since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009.

The insecurity situation has been further worsened by the clashes between the nomadic herdsmen, predominantly from the Fulani tribe, and the more stable pastoral farming over water and grazing land.

More recently, the activities of unknown gunmen referred to as bandits has been of concern for authorities as there have been growing reports of several individuals, including members of the clergy, who have been kidnapped for ransom. Many are released after the bandits’ demands are met, but some are killed.

Clergy kidnappings

Fr. Aketeh’s abduction follows a series of other kidnappings of members of the clergy in Nigeria.

The most recent incident was the kidnap of Fr. Joseph Danjuma Shekari who was abducted from his parish residence in the diocese of Kafanchan on 6 January. The priest was released after one day.

09 March 2022, 14:05