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BREAKING: Gunmen abduct Catechist of St. Monica Catholic Church in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Gunmen Abduct Catechist of St. Monica Catholic Church in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Thursday, 19 January 2023.

In a shocking and disturbing incident, gunmen in the Chawai Chiefdom of Kauru Local Government in Kaduna State, Nigeria, kidnapped the Catechist of St. Monica Catholic Church, Mr Kefas Ishaya, on Thursday evening.

The attackers had initially targeted the church’s Reverend, Fr Joseph Shekari, but were unsuccessful as he was not present at the time of the attack.

According to reports from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the kidnappers broke into the residence of Fr Shekari, scaling the fence and using stones and bullets to break down the main door.

They searched the entire house, including under beds and in wardrobes and bathrooms, but Fr Shekari was not present. In frustration, they then abducted the Catechist, Mr Ishaya, dragging him into the bush.

This is not the first time that Fr Shekari has been targeted by kidnappers. In February 2022, he was also kidnapped and a ransom was paid for his release.

Tragically, during that incident, his cook, Sati Musa, was shot and killed while trying to protect him. The kidnappers in that instance also made off with proceeds from the annual Thanksgiving Service, which had taken place that same day.

Parish members suspect that this latest abduction is also connected to the proceeds from the most recent Thanksgiving Service, which took place on Sunday, January 16.

The chairman of the Ikulu Zone of the Parish, Mr Sunday Bage, stated that the kidnappers came to the church around 9:30 pm and were shooting sporadically as they searched for Fr Shekari.

A local woman, who witnessed the abduction, described the scene as devastating and said the Catechist was dragged away “like a dog”. She also noted that this is a dark period for the community, coming so soon after the previous kidnapping of Fr Shekari.

The kidnappers took Mr Ishaya’s phone with them and calls to the line have been going unanswered. It is unclear at this time who the kidnappers are or what their demands may be. The police have been informed and an investigation is underway.

This latest abduction is yet another tragic and disturbing incident in a region that has seen a growing number of kidnappings and other violent crimes in recent months.

The Catholic Church has called for the immediate release of Mr Ishaya and for an end to the violence and kidnappings in the region.

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