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Catholic Major Seminary in Nigeria Attacked, Three Theology Seminarians Abducted

Entrance to the Christ the King Major Seminary in Nigeria’s Kafanchan Diocese where three seminarians were abducted. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Three Major Seminarians pursuing their studies in Theology at a Seminary of Nigeria’s Kafanchan Diocese were abducted Monday, October 11 after the Catholic institution came under attack, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese has confirmed. 

In a Tuesday, October 12 statement shared with ACI Africa, Fr. Emmanuel Uche Okolo says that the October 11 attack that resulted in the abduction of three Major Seminarians in their fourth year of Theology took place “at about 7.26 p.m., in the Chapel of the Seminary.”

“We announce with unease the kidnap of three major seminarians of the Christ the King Major Seminary, our diocesan Major Seminary domiciled within the St. Albert Institute,” Fr. Okolo, says in the statement. 

“From the narrative of the seminary security agents, the law enforcement personnel and the headcount conducted after Mass on the 12th October, 2021, it was confirmed that Three Theology Four seminarians were abducted,” he says.

The three kidnapped Seminarians belong to the Apostles of Divine Charity and the Little Sons of the Eucharist Congregations, the Chancellor of Kafanchan Diocese adds.

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At the time of the attack, Fr. Okolo further recounts, “10 formators including the Rectors of the Seminary and the Institute, 132 seminarians, 6 non-seminarians, one female non-academic staff and one steward were on ground.”

Following the attack, six seminarians “sustained various degrees of injuries”, the Nigerian Priest adds.

“A dispatch of soldiers of the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) was on ground to accompany some formators and the injured seminarians to Salem Hospital in Kafanchan," Fr. Okolo says, adding that those injured were treated and discharged after being confirmed to be stable. 

In the October 12 statement, the Chancellor of Kafanchan Diocese asks for prayers for the rapid and secure release of the three Seminarians. He further calls for calm amid the uncertainty surrounding the abducted Major Seminarians. 

"The entire well-wishers of our Institute and Seminary are hereby discouraged from taking the law into their hands," Fr. Okolo says in the statement shared with ACI Africa, and assures, in reference to the abducted Seminarians, that the leadership of the Diocese "would use every legitimate means to ensure their prompt and secure release." 

More in Africa

Nigeria has been grappling with insecurity since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgency began targeted attacks with the aim of turning Africa's most populous nation into an Islamic State.

The situation of insecurity has been further complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers over grazing land.

The attack on Christ the King Major Seminary is the latest of the attacks that seem to target Church institutions and Clergy in Africa’s most populous nation.

In January 2020, armed men attacked the Good Shepherd Major Seminary within the Archdiocese of Kaduna and abducted four seminarians.

One of the Seminarians, Michael Nnadi, was murdered by the kidnappers reportedly because he could not stop announcing the Christian faith in captivity.

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