Catholic Priest in Nigeria Freed on Pentecost Sunday after Three Days in Captivity

Fr. Matthias Opara freed after spending three days in captivity in Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri. Credit: Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri

Fr. Matthias Opara, the Nigerian Catholic Priest who was abducted on May 26 while returning from a funeral has been set free.

The Parish Priest of Holy Ghost Obosima Catholic Parish of Owerri Archdiocese in Nigeria regained his freedom on Pentecost Sunday, May 28, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Metropolitan See announced in a statement. 

“We thank God almighty for his infinite mercy and for answering our prayers,” Fr. Patrick Mbarah says, and thanks the people of God for “your fraternal solidarity and prayers.”

“To God be the Glory,” Fr. Mbarah adds.

In his earlier statement following the abduction of Fr. Opara, the Chancellor of Owerri Archdiocese said the Local Ordinary of Owerri, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, had directed him to appeal for prayers for the release of the Catholic Priest who started his Priestly Ministry on 14 July 1990.


The May 26 abduction of the Father-in-charge of the Catholic Parish that is located in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area (LGA) of Nigeria’s Imo State was the latest in a series of abductions that have targeted members of the Clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.  

On May 19, Fr. Jude Kingsley Maduka, a Nigerian Catholic Priest serving in Okigwe Diocese was kidnapped and freed after three days of captivity.

Fr. Chochos Kunav and Fr. Raphael Ogigba, who had been abducted on April 29 from Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Warri, were released on May 4.

Earlier, on April 15,  Fr. Michael Ifeanyi Asomugha, the Curate of St Paul’s Parish Osu of Okigwe Diocese, was kidnapped and later released.

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, kill.

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The country has been experiencing the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, a group that allegedly aims at turning it into an Islamic nation.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.