Two Religious Priests Kidnapped in Nigeria Regain Freedom, Hospitalized for “checkup”

Fr. Kenneth Kanwa (right) and Fr. Jude Nwachukwu (left). Credit: Ahiara Diocese

Fr. Kenneth Kanwa and Fr. Jude Nwachukwu, who were abducted from their Rectory at St. Vincent De Paul Fier Parish of Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Pankshin on February 1 have been released and admitted in hospital for examination.

In an interview with Channels TV, the Chairman of the Plateau State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Fr. Polycarp Lubo, confirmed the release of the two members of the  Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CMF), also known as Claretian Missionaries.

Fr. Lubo has been quoted as saying that Fr. Kanwa, the Parish Priest, and his assistant, Fr. Nwachukwu, “were released in the early hours” of Thursday, February 8.

The CAN chairman could not disclose “whether ransom was paid to secure the release of the Priests but said they had been taken to the hospital for medical check-ups.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, Plateau State Security Command, Alfred Alabo, also confirmed the release of the two Claretian Missionary Priests.


He said, “No suspects are in police custody yet as those apprehended by the local vigilantes to have committed the crime were never handed over to the police.”

The Provincial Secretary of CMF, Fr. Dominic Ukpong, had announced the abduction of his two confreres in a statement he issued on February 2. He had appealed for “prayers at this challenging time for their safety and quick release from captivity.” 

The West African nation has been battling with a surge of violence orchestrated by gangs, whose members carry out indiscriminate attacks, kidnapping for ransom, and in some cases, killing.

Boko Haram insurgency has been a major challenge in the country since 2009, a group that allegedly aims to turn Africa's most populous nation 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.