A Seminarian in Nigeria's Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan is missing after the Parish house he was in was set ablaze in a suspected kidnapping incident.
A Priest who does not mention his name is seen recording the Thursday, September 7 incident as St. Raphael Fadan Kamantan Catholic Parish house goes up in flames and billows of smoke.
In the video that is making rounds on social media, the Catholic Priest says that he, together with the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese, Fr. Emmanuel Okolo were lucky to escape; he expresses concern about the whereabouts of the Seminarian only identified as “Naaman” in the video.
“Fr. Okolo and I are out of the house. It is brother Naaman whose whereabouts we don't know. Whether he’s there in the flames or they have taken him, or he has escaped we don't know,” the Priest says.
He notes that bandits attacked the Parish on the night of September 7, and adds, “This is the situation at Fadan Kamantan. The Parish house has been set ablaze by the bandits that attacked us some minutes to 8 p.m. We were able to escape.”
A Priest who spoke to ACI Africa anonymously said that the Seminarian may have passed on in the fire incident. “The Seminarian could not make it out of the fathers’ house,” he said.
ACI Africa is working to establish the situation of the missing Seminarian.
The Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan serves Nigeria’s Kaduna State that is battling high levels of insecurity including banditry, kidnapping for ransom, communal clashes, as well as a 14-year Islamist militant insurgency.
The Diocese of Kafanchan, in particular, has witnessed numerous incidents of kidnappings targeting members of the Clergy, Seminarians, and other Christians in the Diocese.
In June, the Diocese announced the kidnapping of Fr. Jeremiah Yakubu, the Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Parish Karku, who was taken from the rectory of the Parish at about 11 p.m. on June 11. The priest was released two days later.
In July last year, Fr. Emmanuel Silas was also abducted from the Parish rectory at St. Charles Catholic Church of the Diocese of Kafanchan. Fr. Emmanuel who had been kidnapped in the early hours of 4 July 2022 was set free by his captors at “around 9.00pm” of the same day.
On 14 September 2021, the Diocese had announced the kidnapping of Fr. Benson Bulus Luka, who was taken from his residence at St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, and released some 24 hours later.
Earlier, three Major Seminarians who were pursuing their studies in Theology had been abducted after the Catholic institution came under attack. The three, who belonged to the Apostles of Divine Charity and the Little Sons of the Eucharist Congregations were taken away on 11 October 2021 and released some 48 hours after their kidnapping.