, 20 January, 2020 / 7:27 AM
One of the four Nigerian first-year philosophy seminarians abducted January 8 from the Kaduna-based Good Shepherd Major Seminary was freed Saturday, January 18, having been dumped by the kidnappers along Nigeria’s Kaduna-Abuja highway. He was rescued by some Good Samaritans and he is receiving medication at a Catholic health facility, multiple sources have told ACI Africa.
The seminarians, Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; Stephen Amos, 23; and Michael Nnadi, 18, were abducted on the night of January 8 in a 30-minute operation that saw the kidnappers, dressed in military uniform and armed with guns, force their way into the Catholic seminary premise in Kaduna State that was housing 268 major seminarians.
“I can confirm the report that one of the seminarians was released yesterday,” a source in Nigeria told ACI Africa Sunday night and added, “the seminarian was found along the road and helped by passersby because he was not in good shape.”
The freed seminarian is fighting for his life “in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna,” the source said in a telephone interview.
“From the time of the abduction, this seminarian was stubborn to the abductors; he could hold on anything he could find, resisting the kidnapping,” a source in Kaduna narrated and added in reference to the January 8 incident at Good Shepherd Major Seminary, “in retaliation, the seminarian was beaten up badly resulting in some fractures of his body parts, yet they took him still.”
According to this source, the seminarian might have been freed and dumped along the road “because the abductors felt the boy could not survive in their hands.”
Since January 11, the abductors have been making contacts with the family members of the seminarians to discuss ransoms for their release, a source in Nigeria told ACI Africa January 12.
According to a Sunday news report, Archbishop Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso of Kaduna Archdiocese has cautioned against speculations about the abductors’ demand for ransom for the safe release of the seminarians.
“We have streamlined discussion with the kidnappers, it is only one person that is communicating with them, we can’t disclose any discussion with them,” Archbishop Man’oso has been quoted as saying.
On Sunday, January 19, a priest in Kaduna was quoted as telling his congregation at Holy Mass, “We pray that God will touch the hearts of the kidnappers and release the remaining three (seminarians). Keep on praying the Rosary for them.”
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa