Crime News

39 Catholic Priests Killed, 30 Abducted In 2022 – Report

At least 39 Catholic priests were killed by gunmen in 2022, while 30 others were abducted, according to a report by SB Morgen Intelligence, SBM.

On Monday it disclosed that 145 attacks on Catholic priests were recorded in 2022.

SBM Intelligence is a research organisation that compiles and analyses data about happenings in the country.

According to the report, the North-Central topped the list with 12 killings, while the North-West recorded nine deaths. 

The south-east and south-south recorded five deaths each, the report said, while the north-east and north-west had four deaths each.

The report said 28 attacks were carried out by kidnappers, three by herdsmen, two by the IndigenousPeople of Biafra , IPOB, two by Boko Haram, and one each by bandits and mob violence.

For instance, in June 2022, Christopher Onotu, a Catholic priest, was abducted by gunmen in Obangede, Okehi LGA of Kogi State.

The gunmen reportedly broke into the priest’s rectory on a Saturday night before whisking him away leaving the congregation to know about the priest’s abduction on Sunday morning when they went to attend morning mass.

In November 2022, a Catholic priest, identified as “Father Kunat” was also abducted in Kaduna metropolis following an invasion of his residence.

A month later, gunmen abducted Mark Ojotu, a Catholic priest of Otukpo diocese in Benue State.

The SBM report said,  “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.”

Recall that on January 15, 2023, terrorists killed Isaac Achi, a priest of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church in Kafin-Koro, Paikoro LGA of Niger state.

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