A Catholic priest was kidnapped and murdered last week in northern Nigeria by a group of unidentified armed men who first asked for ransom money from the priest’s diocese before killing him.
Fr. John Gbakaan, the parish priest of the Saint Anthony Church in Gulu, in the diocese of Minna was found dead on Jan. 17 alongside the road from Lambata to Lapai in the state of Niger, according to the Catholic missions website fides.org.
Gbakaan, his brother, and another priest had gone to visit his mother in a neighboring state. The trio was ambushed and abducted by armed assailants on Jan. 15 during their return trip. At first, the kidnappers asked for a little more than $78,000 in ransom and later reduced the amount to a little more than $13,000.
Gbakaan’s body was found on Jan. 17 near the site of the kidnapping. Fides.org reported that the priest had been allegedly murdered with a machete in such a way that made identification of the body difficult. Gbakaan’s vehicle was also found near the site of the killing.
There has been no further information on Gbakaan’s brother and it’s assumed he’s still being held by the kidnappers.
‘Many People Living in Fear’
In response, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Nigerian government to stop the abduction and killing of Christian leaders by people they describe as “bandits.”
Rev. John Hayab, CAN’s vice chairman (Northern region) told Vanguard News that the Catholic priest’s murder was “shocking and painful” and the insecurity in the northern part of the country has become alarming.
“Sadly, those in power are wanting us to be singing their praises while our loved ones are being killed. No responsible citizen will enjoy criticizing his leaders for fun or because he hates them. Citizens criticize leaders so that they will sit up and do what is right,” Hayab said.
“Today in Northern Nigeria many people are living in fear and many young people are afraid to become pastors because pastors’ lives are in great danger,” he noted.
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SOURCE: CBN News