Two Nigerian Catholic priests kidnapped

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


FISM News has delivered multiple reports in the past year on the dangerous and contentious situation for Christians in Nigeria’s Kaduna State. On July 15, another story of persecution against Christians broke with the kidnapping of Catholic priests.

Father John Mark Cheitnum and Father Denatus Cleopas were taken from Christ the King Catholic Church in Lere, according to a report from the Catholic News Agency. The reports also reveals that 20 Nigerian Catholic clerics have been abducted since the beginning of this year, with three being killed by their captors.

This comes on the heels of a brutal massacre of roughly 50 Nigerian Catholics during a church service on Pentecost Sunday in June.

The diocese where the two men reside has reportedly asked parishioners to pray consistently for the safe release of these men, and has also said it will do everything it can to ensure their release.

“We will use every legitimate means to ensure their quick and safe release,” said Father Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo.

The country of Nigeria is consistently one of the most dangerous in the world for Christians, and the Kaduna state is often the epicenter of this danger. The nation reached the very top of the “most dangerous for Christians” in each of the past two years, with some reports estimating that roughly 5,000 Christians were murdered there in 2021.

Still, Christians in the region are not backing down in their efforts to spread the gospel.

The Nigerian Diocesan Catholic Priests Association said recently, “We were called and sent to preach the good news to the poor, give liberty to captives, free the oppressed, heal the broken-hearted, bind up wounds, and the likes. We have been fulfilling this call and we shall continue.”