German Catholic Missionary Priest Released after 12 Months of Captivity in Mali

Fr. Hans Joachim Lohre. Credit: ACN Deutschland.

Fr. Hans-Joachim Lohre, a member of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), who was taken away in a kidnapping incident in Bamako, the capital of Mali, on 20 November 2022 has been set free.

According to the Information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, the release of the German priest was announced on Sunday, November 26.

A representative of the Malian government and two representatives of the Archdiocese of Bamako made public the announcement and “wished to remain anonymous,” according to a Monday, November 27 report by Agenzia Fides.

After being released and handed over to the Malian authorities following a negotiation that was reportedly done directly by the German government, Fr. Hans-Joachim is said to have been “flown to Germany overnight on a special flight.”

Contacted for a comment on the said day of the release, the White Fathers told ACI Africa that “we shall have time” to provide an update on the situation of their confrere.


Asked to confirm the media reports about the release of Fr. Hans-Joachim, Fr. Didier Sawadogo, the Provincial of the West Africa Province of the Missionary congregation, added, in a note he shared with ACI Africa, Africa, “We are waiting for confirmation.”

Earlier, Fr. Pawel Hulecki, the Assistant General of the White Fathers had asked for prayers for their kidnapped confrere, saying that his whereabouts were still unknown.

“We still don't know how he is doing, and we pray for his liberation,”, Fr. Pawel said about the Priest in a Thursday, November 23 report.

Fr. Hans-Joachim was taken away as he was preparing to celebrate Holy Mass in a church in the capital city of the West African nation.

His car was found abandoned and the cross he always carried with him was on the ground near the car.

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According to the Catholic pontifical organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the 66-year-old Priest who has been in captive for a year “was an important reference person for interreligious dialogue, teaching at the Institute of Christian-Islamic Education.”

According to ACN, Fr. Hans-Joachim, also known among his friends as Ha-Jo, had for over three decades been a keen champion of religious cohesion in Mali.

The foundation highlighted the Catholic Priest’s deep commitment to inter-religious dialogue in Mali, recalling how he had, for long, been the foundation’s contact person in the West African nation, and had taken part in several events hosted by the Pontifical charity foundation.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.