Diocese Announces Release of Catholic Priest Kidnapped in Attack on Nigerian Parish

Fr. Thaddeus Tarhembe, the Parish Priest of St. Ann's Parish of Wukari Diocese located in Nigeria’s Taraba State. Credit: Catholic Diocese of Wukari

The Parish Priest of St. Ann's Sarkin Kudu Parish of Nigeria’s Wukari Diocese who was kidnapped on Sunday, October  29 has regained his freedom, the Catholic Diocese has announced.

Fr. Thaddeus Tarhembe was kidnapped at the Priests’ residence of the Catholic Parish that is located in Nigeria’s Taraba State.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa on Tuesday, October 31, Fr. John Jerome, the Communications Director of Wukari Diocese, said that Fr. Thaddeus was released in the “late hours of the day”, Monday, October 30.

“With our hearts full of joy and thanksgiving, we wish to inform the general public that Very Rev Fr Thaddeus Tarhembe, a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Wukari, who was kidnapped in the early hours of Sunday, 29th October, 2023, in his parish residence of St Ann's, Sarkin Kudu, has regained his freedom. He was released by his abductors yesterday Monday, 30th October, 2023, in the late hours of the day,” Fr. Jerome said. 

Fr. Jerome expressed gratitude to those who heeded to the Diocese’s call for solidarity with the Priest, who had been abducted by “unknown gunmen.”


“The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wukari, Most Rev Mark M. Nzukwein, on behalf of the priests, religious and Laity of the Diocese, thanks and appreciates you all for your prayers and solidarity in this trying moment in the life of our young Diocese. May the good Lord bestow His blessings upon you and your families,” he said about the pioneer Local Ordinary of the Nigerian Diocese that Pope Francis established in December 2022.

In an October 30 interview with ACI Africa, the Communications official of Wukari explained the details that surrounded Fr. Thaddeus abduction, saying, “Armed men attacked the parish and took Father Thaddeus. They scaled the wall and started shooting. They then broke into the house where father was sleeping and took him away.”

Fr. Jerome also said, “Although the Church compound has a few other people staying there, including stewards, the armed men targeted the Priest's house and took Father Thaddeus.” 

Fr. Thaddeus’ kidnapping came barely two days after residents of Pupule community in Yorro Local Council of Taraba State woke up to the news of the abduction of six people in the State.

Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Nigeria’s Taraba State have joined the call of the public to end insecurity in the state, which is located in northeastern Nigeria and is bordered by equally volatile Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States. These States are ravaged by various violent groups including armed Fulani herdsmen.

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