A priest in East Local Government Area of Plateau, Jos, was abducted by gunmen Rev Fr James Kantoma, the parish priest of St Anthony Catholic Church, Angware, was taken hostage Monday. According to Alabo Alfred, the Police Public Relations Officer of Jos, Fr Kantoma was kidnapped last week Sunday from the church’s mission house. “Our men are already working to ensure that the cleric regains his freedom and apprehend those behind the abduction.” A local, Silas Joshua, confirmed the kidnapping on Monday. “When the gunmen arrived in the community at night, they moved straight to the house of the Reverend father. Some youths in the area, who were alerted, tried to stop them and even gave them a hot chase into the bush, but the gunmen started shooting and eventually took the Reverend father away.” Fr Polycarp Lubo, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state of Jos, had this to say: “Since the gunmen took the priest away, we have not heard anything either from him or the abductors. This is so sad, but we are praying for him that no harm will befall him wherever he is.” He also made an impassioned plea to the government and security forces to work hard to ensure a safe return of the priest as well as all others who are in captivity.,Ogbomoso%20Expressway%20in%20Oyo%20State

In another instance of clergy being abducted, the Anglican bishop of Jebba Diocese, Kwara State, Rt Rev Oluwaseun Aderogba, was taken, along with his wife and driver. The bishop and his wife were being driven from Yewa, Ogun State, to Jebba, Kwara State, when their car seemingly developed a fault at a lonely section of the road around 20:30 on Sunday. Upon that, the gun-wielding men attacked them and dragged them into a nearby forest. His chaplain, Rev Adekunle Adeluwa, was able to escape from the kidnappers. “I was lucky not to be visible to the kidnappers because of the black cassock I was wearing in the dead of the night. The place was dark, so I laid flat on the ground and hid while the abductors marched the bishop, his wife and the driver into the bush”, he recounts. Calling on the President of Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police, and the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, the Archbishop of the province, Most Rev Israel Amoo, decried the incessant killing, abduction and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians. The ransom demanded the release of Rev Aderogba, his wife and driver is reportedly 50 million Naira.

In a continued show of support for the victims of the Ondo church massacre, a politician from the United States of America has added his voice of support. Rep Chris Smith of New Jersey, petitioned for the US State Department to meet with Nigerian bishop Jude Arogundade, in the wake of the atrocities of Sunday, 5 June. “In the aftermath of the horrific attack that took place on June 5 at the Church of St Francis Xavier in Owo, Ondo State, and in advance of your upcoming visit to Nigeria and, I ask that you make time in your schedule to meet with Bishop Jude Arogunandade of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo. Previously, Ondo had not seen major militant activity, and the attack indicates the southward migration of terror towards Christian-majority regions as well as Nigeria’s oil producing areas. This is of great concern, especially given the outsized importance of Nigeria throughout all of West Africa”, he wrote, in a letter to Victoria Nuland, the U.S Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. This, after Nigeria accounted nearly 80% of Christian persecutorial deaths worldwide, with the total numbering 4650, according to a report by Open Doors International, a religious watchdog.

Isi-Uzo, in Enugu state, has seen the attack, by a group of Fulani herdsmen, on a group of people, that resulted in the death of eight people. The attacks were sporadic, and took place from Monday up until at least Wednesday night, on the farmers in the local vicinity. A member of a local security vigilante group, who spoke under condition of anonymity, was fearful of the casualties rising in the next few days, “Suspected Fulani herdsmen besieged Ogbete Mgbuji farm settlement and started shooting anybody on sight. On Tuesday, we recovered two dead bodies who were killed on Monday, while five others were where killed on Tuesday night were recovered on Wednesday. I believe more dead bodies would still be found there because we perceived putrid odour and even blood stains on our way out of the farm settlement. We left there in a hurry because the place has difficult terrains with overgrown bushes. We were able to visit the place with the help of officers of the Nigerian Army serving in the local government area. We could not recover all the casualties, some people were still missing. The assailants beheaded Emmanuel Ogbodo, who was a member of Neighbourhood Watch group in the local government. I was equally informed that the herds attacked Ngele Aguiyi Wednesday night. The villagers just deposited the corpse of the victim who was killed last night. We have not gone to the community to ascertain the actual number of casualties. We are still waiting for the local government to mobilize soldiers and police so that we can visit the community. These people would just come, attack, and d leave the place before soldiers or police could get there. Even the herders we see there are always with AK-47 rifles’, he explained. Since the only police station in the local council area is at least two hours’ drive away from Isi-Uzo, the local vigilante suggested that the establishment of a police station closer to the village might help, as the police were very slow to respond. A local community leader, Chief Jerome Odo, said that residents are now living in fear. According to him, local women were being raped on their farms, with one being raped by seven hoodlums only a few days ago in the community. “Five our people were killed (sic), two on Monday and three on Tuesday, while many others which I can’t give the figure, sustained bullet injuries. Many others are still missing. These people are terrorists. Yesterday, soldiers and the police went to Orie Market and carried the corpses of our people. It didn’t take 10 minutes after they left that the hoodlums started shooting for several hours in the

community. Three corpses were found on the road and the police are going to carry them. In Akpuff Mgbuji old farm settlements, where more than 1000 people were living, all the houses were burnt down. No single soul is living there as we speak,” he continued, referencing past attacks. Daniel Ndukwe, Public Relations Officer for Police, confirmed two deaths. “Police operatives responded to a distress call alleging the murder of two male victims by yet-to-be-identified gunmen and some others said to be missing, at Ogbede-Mgbuji, Eha-Amufu, around 11:45pm on Monday. The operatives took lifeless bodies to the hospital, where they were confirmed dead by doctors and deposited in a mortuary for autopsies.” A manhunt is currently underway for the suspects.

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