One Year On, Missionary Priest Abducted in Niger Still Missing, Prayerful Concerns

Poster created by the Society of African Missions in memory of Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli, one year since his abduction

The whereabouts of the missionary priest, Fr. Luigi Maccalli, who was abducted exactly one year ago (September 17, 2018) in the landlocked West African country of Niger remain unknown.

A member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), Italian-born Fr. Maccalli was kidnapped by unknown people in his Church the night of September 17 2018 in Bomoanga, near the border between Niger and Burkina Faso.

“We are in silence and (in) prayer,” Fr. Salako Désiré, the Superior of the SMA in Benin Niger Province told ACI Africa Tuesday.

With no news about him, Fr. Maccalli’s confreres, family members, and the faithful he ministered to have remained in shock, praying that he might one day be found alive and in good health.

“On Tuesday, 17 September 2019, we commemorate the 1st anniversary of the abduction of our Italian SMA confrere, Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli,” the editor of SMA website has noted and added, “It is a sad day for the Society of African Missions, for his missionary brothers, his family and especially for the people of Niger whom Fr. Luigi served with great faithfulness and love.”


The SMA website has a poster created “to remember the year that has passed since Luigi was taken.”

“We asked our readers to join the Society of African Missions in marking this sad occasion with sincere prayers for his wellbeing and safe return,” the editor has explained.

Fr. Maccalli had been a missionary in Ivory Coast for several years before being commissioned to the diocese of Niamey at Bomoanga parish, which has been described as “an isolated and neglected area because of the lack of roads, communications, and infrastructure.”

According to the testimony of Fr. Maccalli’s Indian confrere who was with him on the night of his abduction and who managed to escape, the armed abductors took away his (Fr. Maccalli’s) computer and phone.

Named after the Niger River, the Republic of the Niger is bordered by a number of countries, including Libya to the northeast, Chad to the East, Benin to the southwest, Nigeria to the South, Algeria to northwest, and Mali and Burkina Faso to the West.

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Weeks into his abduction, there were reports that Fr. Maccalli might have been taken beyond Niger’s border, probably into Burkina Faso where “there is, in fact, a vast forest in which the jihadist militants have their bases.”