The Sisters of Jesus the Saviour is a Nigerian order that cares for the poor, elderly, and sick. The order did not provide any details about who may have perpetrated the kidnapping.
Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent years, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritize the security of its citizens.
Priests, in particular, are often kidnapped and held for ransom. On July 11, the Nigerian Diocesan Catholic Priests Association issued a statement about the attacks, saying, “it is really sad that in the course of their normal pastoral activities, priests have become an endangered species.”
Most recently, in July, Father John Mark Cheitnum and Father Denatus Cleopas were abducted at the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church in the town of Lere in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State. Cleopas was released, but Cheitnum was killed in brutal fashion. |
Security expert David Otto, director of the Geneva Centre for Africa Security and Strategic Studies, based in Geneva, Switzerland, told CNA in July that the consensus of security experts in his group is that the Catholic Church is being targeted because it has been paying the steep ransoms the terrorists have demanded, which can be as high as $200,000, or more.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.