AFRICA/NIGERIA - Kidnappings: Police free Catholic priest and Muslim believers collect donations to free Christian citizens

Thursday, 22 June 2023 kidnappings   priests   solidarity  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The scourge of kidnappings in Nigeria does not stop, but there are also cases that are resolved positively with the intervention of the police or that show that there are forms of solidarity that go beyond religious divisions: for example a Catholic priest kidnapped and freed by the police, or a group of Baptist Christians released thanks to a ransom paid by the Muslim community. In the first case, Rev. Anthony Adikwu of the Diocese of Otukpo, kidnapped on June 15 by gunmen in the Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue State (northeast Nigeria), was released yesterday, June 21, thanks to the intervention of the police.
Officers from the Operation Zenda unit managed to locate the priest and free him. Father Adikwu was arrested around 7 pm on 15 June by a squad of armed men who broke into the parish church of St Margaret in Ajegbe parish. Meanwhile, on June 17, the last 16 hostages who had been taken during the service on Sunday, May 7, at Bege Baptist Church, Madala, in Chikun parish, Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, were also rescued. Some had managed to escape and returned home leaving the remaining 16 in the hands of the bandits.
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev John Joseph Hayab, told journalists in Kaduna that they were full of gratitude to the Muslim community in the area, who assisted before the captives regained freedom.
According to him, "the Muslim community where the worshippers were abducted contributed money and bought a motorcycle as part of ransom required for the release of their Christian brothers and sisters in captivity". "This goes to show good, caring and sincere neighbours that practically showed concern to the plight of their brothers and sisters that were abducted and their sincere wish that they return home to live together with them in peace and harmony".
"The exemplary life shown by the Muslim community in Madala should be emulated by all in other parts of the state for a united and peaceful coexistence that is needed for the overall development of the state", he said.
The Muslim community has shown that one does not need to be educated before doing the needful. "Nigerians from all walks of life should be their brothers keepers in order to eliminate all forms of insecurity in every part of the country", he concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2023)