ACN International denounces the latest attack on the Catholic Church in Nigeria, in which a seminarian was burned to death in the diocese of Kafanchan, as well as the kidnapping of another seminarian in southern Kaduna.
The terrible incident took place last night, around 8 pm, Thursday 7 September, when a large group of Fulani bandits attacked and set fire to the rectory of St. Raphael parish, Fadan Kamantan, in the diocese of Kafanchan, in the state of Kaduna.
According to information sent to ACN by different sources and confirmed by the Bishop of Kafanchan, Msgr. Julius Kundi – the parish priest Fr. Emmanuel Okolo and the assistant priest were able to escape the fire, but a seminarian, Na’aman Danlami, 25, died in the attack.
Speaking by telephone to ACN, Bishop Kundi said: “The attackers were aiming to kidnap the parish priest. When they failed in their attempt to enter the father’s house, they set it on fire. The two priests were able to escape but, terribly, the seminarian was burned inside.”
“The assault lasted more than an hour, but there was no reaction or support from the military forces. A kilometer away there is a checkpoint, but there was a total absence of reaction”, added the bishop.
“Nigerian citizens are unprotected. We hardly benefit from the security forces.”
ACN deplores this latest in a long line of attacks on Church members and property in Nigeria. A very similar incident took place in January 2022, when Catholic priest Father Isaac Achi was murdered and burned in his rectory. His assistant, Father Colins Omeh, suffered gunshot wounds.
“It’s a terrible loss. We recovered the body of Na’aman Danlami this morning and took it to the morgue. This seminarian is the second member we have lost in the diocese at the hands of terrorist attacks by Fulani bandits, last year Father John Mark Cheitnum, Director of Communications of the diocese of Kafanchan, was kidnapped and brutally murdered”, said Bishop Kundi.
The news of this latest attack in Nigeria comes on the same day that the ACN foundation was informed about the kidnapping of another seminarian, Ezequiel Nuhu, taken on Thursday in Kaduna, along with his father. Nuhu is a seminarian in Abuja, but had gone to Southern Kaduna to spend a holiday with his family.
Nigeria has been a particularly dangerous country for Catholic clergy in recent years. In 2022 four priests were killed in the country and 28 were kidnapped. In 2023 the number of members of the clergy victims of kidnapping has already reached fourteen.
Aid to the Church in Need asks for prayers for the repose of Na’aman Danlami and for consolation for his family and his community. It also prays for the safety and quick release of Ezekiel Nuhu.