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Kidnapped priest killed in Nigeria, another escapes


Following the kidnapping of two Catholic priests in central Nigeria last week, the local diocese announced on July 19 that one of the two priests had escaped, while the other was “brutally” killed.

Father John Mark Cheitnum and Father Denatus Cleopas were abducted at around 5:45 p.m. on July 15 at the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church, in the town of Lere in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State.

Cleopas escaped with his life, but Cheitnum was “brutally killed” by his abductors on the day of his kidnapping, a letter from the diocese of Kafanchan says. His burial is scheduled for July 21 at the Kafanchan’s Cathedral of St. Peter.

Father Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, who serves as the chancellor of the diocese of Kafanchan, told CNA last week that the diocese is asking people to pray for the quick and safe release of the kidnapped priests. He said in his July 19 letter that Cheitnum’s body had been found that day. 

The diocese did not say who the kidnappers were thought to be, or whether any ransom was demanded for the two priests. Cheitnum served as chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Jema’a Local Government Area, as well as coordinator of CAN in Southern Kaduna. 

Source: Catholic News Agency

Two Catholic priests have been abducted in Nigeria’s Kaduna State

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