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Catholic Priest, 45 Parishioners Kidnapped After Sunday Mass in Nigeria…

Gwada is about 40 miles to southwest of Sarkin Pawa. Both towns are located in the central Nigerian state of Niger.

“Kindly assist us to inform our bishops and priests about the ugly incident and our request for prayers and the celebration of the Holy Mass for the safe release of Rev. Father Raphael Leo by the abductors,” Amanchukwu said.

“At the same time,” he continued, “assist us with prayers for the safe release of our numerous brothers and sisters who have been held hostage by the rampaging bandits attacking communities and villages in Niger State.”

A March 28 news report from Sahara Reporters said that 44 villagers were also kidnapped during the two-day attack. The people abducted were reportedly villagers who had just returned to their communities on Saturday after living in Internally Displaced Persons camps.

“We entrust Father Leo and other captives to the Maternal Intercessions and Protection of Mary Mother of Mercy,” Amanchukwu said. “May the Holy Spirit secure the release of our brother, Father Raphael Leo, from the hands of the bandits. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, with an almost even divide between Christians and Muslims. Nigeria’s Christians, especially in the northern part of the country, have for the past several decades been subjected to killings, kidnappings and property destruction, often at the hands of Islamic extremist groups.

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