Two Missionary Priests Who Were Kidnapped in Nigeria Released

The provincial secretary of the Claretians, Father Dominic Ukpong, had announced the abduction of his two confreres in a statement on Feb. 2.

Father Jude Nwachukwu (left) and Father Kenneth Kanwa were kidnapped from their parish rectory in the Diocese of Pankshin in Nigeria on Feb. 1, 2024.
Father Jude Nwachukwu (left) and Father Kenneth Kanwa were kidnapped from their parish rectory in the Diocese of Pankshin in Nigeria on Feb. 1, 2024. (photo: Ahiara Diocese)

Two missionary priests who were abducted from a parish rectory in Nigeria earlier this month have been released and admitted to the hospital for examination.

Father Kenneth Kanwa and Father Jude Nwachukwu were taken from the rectory at St. Vincent de Paul Fier Parish in the Diocese of Pankshin in Plateau state on Feb. 1.

In an interview with Channels TV, Father Polycarp Lubo, the chairman of the Plateau state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), confirmed the release of the two members of the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (CMF), also known as the Claretians.

Father Lubo said that Kanwa, the parish priest, and his assistant, Father  Nwachukwu, “were released in the early hours” of Thursday, Feb. 8.

The CAN chairman could not disclose “whether ransom was paid to secure the release of the priests” but said they “had been taken to the hospital for medical checkups.”

The public relations officer for Plateau State Security Command, Alfred Alabo, also confirmed the release of the two priests.

“No suspects are in police custody yet as those apprehended by the local vigilantes [said] to have committed the crime were never handed over to the police,” he said.

The provincial secretary of the Claretians, Father Dominic Ukpong, had announced the abduction of his two confreres in a statement on Feb. 2. He had appealed for “prayers at this challenging time for their safety and quick release from captivity.” 

The West African nation has been battling a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing.

Insurgency by Boko Haram, a group that allegedly aims to turn Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic nation, has been a major challenge in the country since 2009.

Cardinal-elect Víctor Manuel Fernández was appointed by Pope Francis on July 1, 2023, to become the next prefect for the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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While some of these changes are not that dramatic or noticeable in English, introducing inclusive wording in languages such as Spanish, where nouns are either grammatically masculine or feminine, becomes quite obvious due to the novel alteration of noun endings.