By Fr Don Bosco Onyalla
A Nigerian seminarian who was abducted this month was freed by his kidnappers after 10 days in captivity. Three seminarians kidnapped with him remain in captivity.
The freed seminarian, who has not yet been identified, is being treated at a Catholic hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria. The extent of his injuries is unclear, but he is being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“From the time of the abduction, this seminarian was stubborn to the abductors; he could hold on anything he could find, resisting the kidnapping,” a source close to Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna told ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner.
“The seminarian was beaten up badly resulting in some fractures of his body parts, yet they took him still,” the source said of the 8 January kidnapping.
The seminarian, still suffering injuries from his abduction, was dumped by kidnappers on 18 January on the side of Nigeria’s Kaduna-Abuja highway. He was taken to the hospital after being found by passing motorists. The seminarian might have been freed and dumped along the road “because the abductors felt the boy could not survive in their hands,” a source told ACI Africa.
The students, Pius Kanwai, 19; Peter Umenukor, 23; Stephen Amos, 23; and Michael Nnadi, 18, were abducted on the night of 8 January in a 30-minute operation that saw the kidnappers, dressed in military uniform and armed with guns, force their way onto the Catholic seminary campus, which is home to 268 seminarians.
Since 11 January the abductors have been making contact with family members of the seminarians to discuss ransoms for their release, a source in Nigeria told ACI Africa on 12 January.
According to a Sunday news report, Archbishop Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso of Kaduna has cautioned against speculation about the abductors’ demand for ransom for the safe release of the seminarians.
“We have streamlined discussion with the kidnappers, it is only one person that is communicating with them, we can’t disclose any discussion with them,” Archbishop Man’oso told local media. Good Shepherd Seminary is located just off the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria Express Way. According to AFP, the area is “notorious for criminal gangs kidnapping travellers for ransom.”
The news agency said that schoolgirls and staff from a boarding school also located near the highway were kidnapped in October, and were later released.
Kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria have multiplied in recent months, a situation that has prompted Church leaders to express serious concern about the security of their members and to call on the government to prioritise the security of its citizens.
Story published with permission from Catholic News Agency