Africa Had the Highest Number of Martyrs in 2022: Catholic Charity

Credit: ACN

The Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, has paid tribute to Christians all over the world who were killed because of their faith, noting that most martyrs of 2022 came from Africa.

ACN conducted a series of vigils across various towns in France between January 21 and 27 during which names of Christians who died because of their faith were mentioned, including Catholic Priests who were murdered in Nigeria by Islamists.

“Africa is the continent which has the largest number of martyrs, with four priests killed in Nigeria alone, two in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as one nun,” ACN says in the February 3 report.

The foundation adds, “The Americas follow closely behind in this sad ranking, with notably three priests and one seminarian murdered in Mexico.”

The prayer vigils which ACN christened “Nights of Witnesses” took place in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Lyon, Nice, Lille, and Paris, and brought together thousands of participants. Portraits of 13 Priests and three Nuns killed because of their faith in 2022 were also displayed.


The January 2023 Night of Witnesses welcomed several guests who gave powerful testimonies about the life of Christians in their respective countries.

On the list of Catholic Priests murdered in Nigeria in 2022 is Fr. John Mark Cheitnum, a member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Kafanchan Diocese who was murdered on  July 15 last year following his abduction.

Aged 50, Fr. Vitus Borogo was also killed on 25 June 2022 at Prison Farm in Kaduna when “terrorists” raided the farm.

The third Priest, 41-year-old Fr. Christopher Odia was killed after having been abducted on 26 June 2022 as he left his Parish residence to go for Holy Mass.

In May last year, Fr. Joseph Akete Bako died at the hands of his kidnappers who took him away from the Archdiocese of Kaduna in March of the same year.

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And in DRC’s Butembo-Beni Diocese, a Catholic Nun was among seven people who were killed on October 20 last year when gunmen attacked a Catholic Mission hospital in Maboya village of the country’s embattled North Kivu Province. 

Members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) raided the village, killing Sr. Dr. Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki and six others who were patients at the Catholic health facility.

Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka was assassinated in DRC hours after participating in the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life on 2 February 2022.

Another Priest in DRC, Fr. Godefroid Pembele Mandon, also succumbed to a gunshot wound following an attack on his Parish on the night of 6 August 2022 when “armed men” attacked the St. Joseph Mukasa Parish of Kikwit Diocese.

Speaking at one of the vigils that were organized by ACN in France, Archbishop Goetbé Edmond Djitangar of Chad’s N’Djamena Archdiocese recounted the courage, which the Catholic Church displays daily in daring to denounce the ills of those in power in the North-Central African country.


Noting that most Christians in Chad come from the South, Archbishop Edmond, however, found it regrettable that the majority of those in power come from the extreme North of the country and “have their hand on its finances, territorial government, land, and the country’s principal levers of power.”

“Outside people speak little about the Church in Chad, but inside it has a strong voice,” the Catholic Archbishop is quoted as saying in the ACN report, adding, “For the last 40 years, the Catholic Church, through the bishops’ pastoral messages and especially the Christmas messages, has continually denounced these unjust situations.”

Some of the injustices that the Catholic Bishops in Chad continually denounce include the monopolization of arable land for extensive livestock farming, the corruption of justice, especially in resolving conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, the misappropriation of public funds and the authoritarian abuses of power.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.