Nairobi, 04 September, 2023 / 9:55 pm (ACI Africa).
Fr. Paul Sanogo and Seminarian Melchior Maharini who were kidnapped from their community of Missionaries of Africa (M.Afr.) in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Minna came back to the community on August 23 weary, traumatized, and sick.
The two had spent three weeks in captivity where they were flogged almost daily, made to sleep on rocks out in the open, and forced to walk for miles barefoot as their kidnappers moved from spot to spot in the forest they were taken following their August 2 abduction.
When they spoke to ACI Africa on September 1, about a week after their release, the two said that the trauma they experienced during their captivity was a blessing as it had strengthened their faith.
“When the men took us, I had so much fear in my heart, thinking of the worst that could happen to us. I couldn’t stop praying. And as time went by, I felt my faith grow stronger. I accepted my situation and surrendered everything to God,” Seminarian Melchior, a native of Tanzania, said.
He added, “I thought about the suffering that our fathers, the early Missionaries of Africa, endured at the start of our Congregation in Africa. Many died but those who survived didn’t give up on the mission. While I was taken captive, I made a firm decision never to give up on my mission. For me, it is forward ever, backward never!”