Abducted Nigerian seminarians released

Abducted Nigerian seminarians released

Abducted Nigerian seminarians released.

The three seminarians (C) who were released Oct. 13, 2021 by their captors, between Fr. Emmanuel Faweh Kazah, rector of the St Albert Institute, and Fr Jonah Yabanad Stephen, rector of Christ the King Major Seminary. / Aid to the Church in Need International

Kafanchan, Nigeria, Oct 13, 2021 / 17:45 pm (CNA).

The three seminarians who were abducted Monday night from their seminary in Nigeria’s Kaduna state have been released, the chancellor of the local Church confirmed on Wednesday.

“Barely 48 hours after their kidnap, our beloved brothers were released by their abductors,” Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, chancellor of the Diocese of Kafanchan, said in an Oct. 13 statement.

Fr. Okolo expressed gratitude to “all those that have offered prayers and entreaties for the quick release of our Seminarians and Others who are still in the dens of their kidnappers.”

Christ the King Major Seminary in Fayit, Fadam Kagoma, about 10 miles southwest of Kafanchan, was attacked by bandits around 7:30 pm Oct. 11.

The three seminarians who were abducted from the seminary chapel belong to the Apostles of Divine Charity and the Little Sons of the Eucharist, and are all in their fourth year of theology.

Christ the King Seminary houses more than 130 seminarians.

Six seminarians were injured in the attack. They were taken with some formators to a hospital in Kafanchan by “a dispatch of soldiers of the Operation Safe Haven.” The injured were treated and discharged after being confirmed to be stable.”

Fr. Emmanuel Faweh Kazah, rector of the St Albert Institute and a professor at the seminary, told Aid to the Church International Oct. 14, “We were beaten but we won’t stay down. We won’t allow ourselves to be cowed by threats emanating from men and women of the underworld. We will courageously carry the torch of the Gospel to the ends of the earth notwithstanding the barrage of attacks on the Christian Faith!”

During an Oct. 13 Mass at the seminary, shortly before the seminarians’ release, Bishop Julius Kundi of Kafanchan said: “One line from the psalms struck me recently in my morning prayer. ‘He is not afraid of bad news: his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord’. Notice that God does not promise that the righteous will not receive bad news. They will. That is life in this valley of tears. But the righteous will not be afraid.”

“Bad news tests the heart”, he added. “But what makes the heart firm and steady? Faith in God. It is ‘trusting in the Lord’ that anchors our hearts, keeping them from being carried away by the waves and wind of fear and anxiety. We need a strong faith to have a strong heart. And we need that strength now more than ever”, he concluded.

Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent years, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.

A priest of the Kafanchan diocese was kidnapped last month. Fr. Benson Bulus Luka was abducted from his residence Sept. 13, and released after little more than 24 hours.

And gunmen abducted four seminarians from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna in January 2020, holding them for random. The kidnappers eventually released three of the seminarians, but killed 18-year-old Michael Nnadi after he refused to renounce his faith.

Fulani herders, most of whom are Muslim, have had increasing conflict with largely Christian farmers over limited natural resources in Kaduna and other states in recent years, and the radical Islamist group Boko Haram continues to threaten safety in Nigeria’s north.

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