“We were not allowed to bathe throughout our captivity. We had to urinate and defecate in the hut. We were smelling like dead bodies and the hut smelled like a mortuary. We were tortured and threatened with death if a ransom of 50 million naira ($120,000) was not paid,” Fr. Awesuh said.
He related that “Our families pleaded and negotiated with our kidnappers, until they finally accepted the sum of 7 million naira ($17,000).”
The priest recalled that three parishioners tracked down the abductees, meaning to rescue them, but they lost their lives in the process.
“Oh, what sorrow to have watched three of my parishioners shot dead in cold blood, right before my eyes—and I couldn’t do anything. It was very painful! At this point, I felt helpless, hopeless, useless, and restless! I urgently craved for death to take me, as the scene of the killings kept playing in my head.”
“Whenever I opened my mouth to pray, words failed me. All I could say was ‘Lord have mercy,’” Fr. Awesuh recounted.
He thanked God for his freedom saying, “To the greater glory of God’s name, we were released and came out alive. I narrowly escaped death. I know of so many priests kidnapped before and after me who were killed even after a ransom was paid.”
Fr. Awesuh, whose current location remains undisclosed for security reasons, said he has undergone counselling.
“The love I received and experienced from my family, friends and especially the Church, was enormous,” he concluded.
ACI Africa (www.aciafricanews.com
) is a service of EWTN News Inc. (www.ewtnnews.com
) along with Catholic News Agency. It was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019, as a continental Catholic news agency serving the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to tell Africa’s news by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent and giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa. The editor-in-chief of ACI Africa is Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla.