Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The alleged murderers of Stephen Na'aman, the seminarian burned alive during the September 7 attack on the St. Raphael parish in Fadan Kamantan, in the diocese of Kafanchan, in the state of Kaduna, in the north of Nigeria (see Fides, 8/9/2023) have been captured. The eight suspects were arrested by the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) special military task force. The spokesperson for this force, Captain James Oya, declared that those arrested are suspected not only of the assault on the Catholic parish and the death of the seminarian, but also of the death of Dorathy Jonathan, killed on 1 September in the village of Afana, in Zango Kataf.
The bandits had attacked the parish in an attempt to kidnap the two priests who worked there. Unable to do so, they started the fire in which the young seminarian died. According to the military spokesperson, "the rapid reaction of our troops made it possible to save Reverend Father Emmanuel Okolo and Noah Monday, the parish priest and his assistant" from the attempted kidnapping. "In all, we have eight suspects in our custody who have been arrested for committing the aforementioned crimes and operating an arms manufacturing factory in the area," the captain said. During the operation which led to the arrest of the suspects, 31 weapons of different categories were recovered. These include three locally manufactured AK-47 rifles, 10 locally manufactured pistols, five locally manufactured AK-47 rifles, nine revolvers, three locally manufactured machine guns, 7.62 special ammunition mm and machine tools. In Nigeria, in addition to smuggled weapons, hand-made weapons by illegal gunsmiths are increasingly widespread. They are capable of replicating not only common firearms (revolvers and shotguns), but also military weapons such as AK-47s, the infamous Kalashnikov, and their ammunition, as well as explosive devices. In February this year, Nigeria's arms control center recovered thousands of illegal firearms, including machine guns and rocket launchers. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/10/2023)