One out of three Catholic priests that were kidnapped in March has been confirmed dead.
ACN was notified of the death of Fr Joseph Aketeh Bako of the Diocese of Kaduna in Nigeria. He was kidna[ed from his home on the 8th of March. According to reports, there had been rumors weeks ago that he had died at the hands of his abductors. The news has only been confirmed recently by Church authorities.
According to one of the reports coming from one of the people abducted alongside the deceased priest, he died in the camp due to illness and mistreatment.
“The increase in kidnappings, murders, and general violence against civilians, including members of the Catholic clergy in many parts of Nigeria, is a scourge that is yet to be properly addressed by the local authorities,” says Regina Lynch, head of projects at ACN International.
The two other abducted priests were Frs Leo Raphael Ozigi and Felix Zakari Fidson. They were subsequently released. And according to reports, in that same period, up to 287 people were murdered and 356 kidnapped in Kaduna state alone.
The Archbishop recently made this a topic of his sermon on Easter Sunday.
“The political will is not there to address the issues of security in this country. The Nigerian security forces have proven they are capable, our military can do this, so that this is happening in our country shows that something has gone wrong. We have nobody else to blame but the Government. They tell us they are on top of the situation, but we think the situation is on top of them.” Archbishop Matthew Manoso Ndagoso
But amid the overwhelming fear, he expressed hope:
“Yes, we are suffering; yes, we are traumatized; yes, we are despondent; yes, as we talk, there are thousands of Nigerians in kidnappers’ dens, and hundreds of thousands that have lost their dear ones, many people here have been victims of these kidnappings. In situations like this, it is easy even for the most religious to think that God has abandoned them. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us hope. The Gospel is saying to the people that the Risen Christ is with us”, he told local media.