Suspects in Killing of Seminarian in Razed Nigerian Catholic Parish Rectory Arrested

A screengrab from a video shared with ACI Africa that shows the parish house at St. Raphael Fadan Kamantan Catholic Church of the Diocese of Kafanchan in flames.

Security officials in Nigeria’s Plateau State have reportedly arrested eight suspects involved in crime, among them, those who set on fire the Catholic Parish rectory in Nigeria’s Kafanchan Diocese that resulted in the death of a Seminarian.

Seminarian Na'aman Danlami died when Fulanis bandits reportedly attacked St. Raphael Fadan Kamantan Parish on the night of September 7 and set the rectory ablaze in what was confirmed as a kidnapping attempt.

In a September 29 press conference, the leadership of the Special Military Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) told journalists that eight suspects linked to the tragic incident had been arrested.

“Among these suspects are those in connection with the murder of Mrs Dorathy Jonathan on September 1 at Afana Village in Zango Kataf,” OPSH media officer, Captain James Oya said, and added, “Also, the suspects involved in the attack and burning of St Raphael’s Catholic Church Fadan Kamatan on September 7, are also here.”

Captain Oya further said, “The swift response of our troops rescued Frs. Emmanuel Okolo and Noah Monday, the Parish Priest and his assistant.”


“On the whole, we have eight suspects in our custody who are arrested for committing the above crimes and also running a gun manufacturing factory in the area,” the OPSH official said.

He added that 31 weapons of various categories were recovered during the operation that resulted in the arrest of the eight suspects.

In an interview with the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, the Local Ordinary of Kafanchan Diocese said the “attackers were aiming to kidnap the Parish Priest.”

“When they failed in their attempt to enter the father's house, they set it on fire. The two priests were able to escape but, terribly, the seminarian was burned inside,” ACN quoted Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi as saying in a report shared with ACI Africa on September 8. 

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop added, “The assault lasted more than an hour, but there was no reaction or support from the military forces. A kilometer away there is a checkpoint, but there was a total absence of reaction.”

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“Nigerian citizens are unprotected. We hardly benefit from the security forces,” Bishop Kundi lamented.

He described Seminarian Na’aman’s death as “a terrible loss”, adding that his killing is not the first in his Episcopal See that serves Kaduna State.

“This seminarian is the second member we have lost in the diocese at the hands of terrorist attacks by Fulani bandits,” the 55-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Kafanchan Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in February 2020 said.

He recalled that last year, Fr. John Mark Cheitnum, Director of Communications of the Diocese of Kafanchan, was kidnapped and brutally murdered.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.