Cardinal in Mali Expresses Solidarity with Family of Missing Catholic Missionary Priest

Jean Cardinal Zerbo (left) and Fr. Hans-Joachim Lohre (right). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Jean Cardinal Zerbo has delivered a message of solidarity with the family of Fr. Hans-Joachim Lohre who has been missing since Sunday, November 20 in a suspected kidnapping incident.

In the message shared with ACI Africa on Wednesday, November 23, the Archbishop of Bamako in Mali also notes that nothing has been heard of the German Catholic Priest who is said to have gone missing at a time that the faithful were waiting for him to celebrate Holy Mass at a community.

“At the time of writing, there is still no news of Father Hans Joachim,” Cardinal Zerbo says.

He adds, “We have a special thought for his biological family in Germany and we pray in communion with all people of will that the Lord will bring him back to us without delay and in good health.”

The Archbishop of Bamako said that Fr. Hans-Joachim was supposed to celebrate Holy Mass at the Christian community of Kalabankura (right bank of Bamako) on November 20 at 8:30 a.m. when he went missing. 


“At the end of the evening, his confreres noticed his absence,” Cardinal Zerbo says, and adds in reference to the German Priest, “His gray Peugeot Partner car had been parked in front of the house since the morning, but his phone was still ringing. This prolonged absence made them think of an abduction and led them to contact the 5th district police.”

Members of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), in a report on Tuesday, November 22, confirmed the kidnapping of Fr. Hans-Joachim Lohre, and expressed their fears that the whereabouts of their confrere were still unknown.

“We know that the police have started looking for Fr. Hans-Joachim, but at the moment it is not yet known whether and which group may have kidnapped him,” the missionaries were quoted as saying in the Agenzia Fides report.

Known locally by the nickname "Ha-Jo", Fr. Hans-Joachim, 65, has lived in Mali for more than 30 years, according to the report. 

Fr. Hans Joachim, Cardinal Zerbo says, is the person in charge of the Faith and Encounter Center and a professor at the Institute of Islamo-Christian Formation (IFIC). 

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“He is also the National Secretary of the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue,” the Malian Cardinal says in his message shared with ACI Africa November 23.

He implores, “May our Lady of Mali intercede for him, for us and for all the abductees and detainees not only in Mali, but throughout the world.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.