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UPDATE: 39 Catholic Priests Killed, 30 Kidnapped In 2022

In 2022, 39 Catholic priests were assassinated by gunmen, while 30 others were abducted.

According to a study released Wednesday by SB Morgen Intelligence, 145 attacks on Catholic priests were registered in the previous year.

SBM Intelligence is a research organization that collects and analyzes data about events in the country.

According to the report, the North-Central was the hardest hit, with 12 deaths, while the North-West had nine.

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Similarly, the south-east and south-south each had five deaths, while the north-east and north-west each had four.

According to the report, 28 attacks were carried out by kidnappers, three by herders, two by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, two by Boko Haram, and one each by bandits and mob violence.

For example, in June 2022, a Catholic priest named Christopher Onotu was kidnapped by gunmen in Obangede, Okehi LGA, Kogi State.

The shooters allegedly broke into the priest’s rectory on a Saturday night before abducting him, leaving the flock to learn of his kidnapping on Sunday morning when they went to morning mass.

In November 2022, a Catholic priest known as “Father Kunat” was kidnapped in Kaduna during an invasion of his home.

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A month later, gunmen kidnapped Mark Ojotu, a Catholic priest from Benue State’s Otukpo diocese.

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In its reactions to the kidnapping and assassination of the priests, the Christian Association of Nigeria, or CAN, expressed alarm about the country’s recent attacks on Christian clerics.

The organization labeled the country a “killing zone” and urged its members to defend themselves against future attacks.

“The continuous killing, as well as kidnapping of Christian clerics in Nigeria, is alarming. This has to be stopped at all costs.

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“Nigeria is becoming a killing field where Christian clerics and its members are slaughtered like chicken.

“The Christian community must rise up and come together to put to an end this insult. They should take up arms and defend themselves legitimately,” CAN had said.

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The SBM read: “2022 was an awful year for the clergy. None in that group suffered more than Catholic priests, who at a point, were subjected to near-daily abductions with ransom demands set at an average of N50 million per priest.

“Although there were quite genuine fears that these abductions were targeted persecution of the Christian faith, the financial imperative in a holy abduction has somewhat eclipsed such concerns.”

Aside from the killings of Catholic priests in 2022, the trend has continued in the new year, with terrorists killing Isaac Achi, a priest of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church in Kafin-Koro, Paikoro LGA, Niger state, on January 15.

 

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