Missionary priest abducted in Nigeria’s Jos Archdiocese; security guard killed

Father Marcellus Nwaohuocha Father Marcellus Nwaohuocha was abducted on June 17, 2023, from the Archdiocese of Jos in Nigeria. | Credit: Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Father Marcellus Nwaohuocha, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was kidnapped June 17 after gunmen attacked the parish he serves, St. Paul Bomo Parish in the Archdiocese of Jos in Nigeria.

In a Sunday, June 18, statement, the order’s superior in Nigeria, Father Peter Klaver, said Nwaohuocha was taken away after the gunmen “forcefully gained entry into the parish house.”

The kidnappers also shot a security guard, who died on the way to the hospital, Klaver said.

Regarding the abducted priest, Klaver said: “Nobody knows where they have taken him.” Klaver appealed for prayers for Nwaohuocha’s safe return.

The abduction of Nwaohuocha is the latest in a series of kidnappings and murders in Africa’s most populous nation involving members of the clergy, seminarians, and other christians. 

On June 11, Father Jeremiah Yakubu, a priest of Kafanchan Diocese, was kidnapped and later released.

Earlier, on June 7, Father Charles Onomhoale Igechi, a member of the clergy of Benin City Archdiocese who was set to mark his first anniversary as a priest on Aug. 13, was shot dead while returning from pastoral duties.

On June 2, Father Stanislaus Mbamara, a priest ministering in Nigeria’s Nnewi Diocese, was kidnapped and later set free.

Officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria have urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was sworn in on May 29, to prioritize the security concerns and the economic struggles of the people of God in the West African nation.

“Nigeria is facing a number of challenges that require strong and decisive leadership. From security concerns to economic struggles, it is clear that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria can reach its full potential," Rev. Daniel Okoh said May 29.

On May 27, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese called upon the new president of Nigeria to identify what is behind the “scars, wounds and injuries” of Nigerians even as he prioritizes their healing.

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