Rome Newsroom, May 27, 2021 / 04:00 am
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has been working to secure the release of a priest from his Sokoto diocese who was kidnapped six days ago.
“We have one of our persons negotiating with them, but it is a painful experience, often traumatic, because of the inhuman ways they speak and the threats they make,” Kukah told the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need.
“Our only weapon is prayer,” he said on May 26.
Fr. Joseph Keke, a 75-year-old priest from his diocese, was kidnapped on May 21 when gunmen attacked St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in the northern Katsina State.
Another priest of the parish, Fr. Alphonsus Bello, was found dead after the attack. He was 33.
“Fr. Bello’s death is part of the senseless and endless losses that have engulfed our nation,” Kukah said, according to ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner.
“We are all literally under the sword in Nigeria, a country that is being consumed by a barbaric horde of humanity.”
The bishop said that negotiating with the kidnappers had been “one of the most painful experiences.” They originally asked for a ransom of more than $240,000, but have since lowered their demand to just over $120,000.