Five Nuns Kidnapped in Southern Nigeria

They were kidnapped Oct. 25 while returning from a burial.

(photo: Shutterstock)

Issele-Uku, Nigeria -- Five nuns were abducted by gunmen in Nigeria’s Delta state on Thursday, according to local media.

The nuns are members of the Order of the Missionary of Martha and Mary.

They were kidnapped Oct. 25 while returning from a burial. They were taken near Agbor, about 25 miles west of Issele-Uku.

The religious women were in a vehicle that the kidnappers shot at. Along with the five abductees, another two nuns were injured.

At least five priests have been kidnapped in Delta state this year.

Violence against Christians has significantly increased in Nigeria in recent years, with the Islamist terror group Boko Haram threatening safety in the north and smaller violent gangs threatening security in the south.

Pope Francis conferred on Catholics the lay ministries of catechist and lector at a Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23.

Pope Francis: The Word of God Rekindles Hope

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the fourth-annual Sunday of the Word of God, during which he, for the first time, formally conferred upon lay Catholics the ministries of lector and catechist.