A religious missionary order in Nigeria is appealing for the safe release of two of its members who were abducted from a parish rectory on Feb. 1.
In a statement issued Feb. 2, Father Dominic Ukpong, the provincial secretary of the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (also known as the Claretians), announced with “sadness” the abduction of Father Kenneth Kanwa and Father Jude Nwachukwu.
Kanwa, the parish priest of St. Vincent de Paul Fier Parish in the Diocese of Pankshin, and Nwachukwu, his assistant, were abducted “at the parish rectory on the night of Thursday, Feb. 1,” according to the statement.
Ukpong appealed for spiritual solidarity, saying: “We solicit your prayers at this challenging time for their safety and quick release from captivity.”
“May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for the sons of her Immaculate Heart. Amen,” he implored.
Nigeria has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing.
The West African nation has also been experiencing since 2009 an insurgency by Boko Haram, a group that allegedly aims to turn Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, into an Islamic country.
By Jude Atemanke, CNA