In a tragic incident in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, Na’aman Danlami, a 25-year-old Catholic seminarian, lost his life when militants set the St. Raphael Fadan Kamantan Parish rectory ablaze.
The event unfolded on September 7th, and according to Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi, the main target was the parish priest. The assault lasted over an hour, but shockingly, no immediate response came from the nearby military forces.
Bishop Kundi stated, “The attackers were aiming to kidnap the parish priest. When they failed… they set it on fire.” He added, emphasizing the gravity of the situation, “A kilometer away there is a checkpoint, but there was a total absence of reaction.”
The parish’s Father Emmanuel Okolo and his assistant managed to narrowly avoid the flames. The whereabouts of seminarian Danlami were initially unclear, but it was later confirmed he tragically died in the fire.
This isn’t the first time Kaduna State has witnessed such brutality. Bishop Kundi revealed, “This seminarian is the second member we have lost in the diocese at the hands of terrorist attacks by Fulani bandits.”
Nigeria has unfortunately become a hotspot for such incidents against the Catholic clergy. In 2022, four Catholic priests were murdered, with 28 abducted. As 2023 unfolds, 14 clergy members have already been kidnapped.
While the identities of the attackers remain uncertain, kidnappings, especially in Northern Nigeria, are alarmingly frequent, often attributed to Boko Haram militants and Fulani herdsmen. Responding to the crisis, the Nigerian Catholic bishops, currently gathered in Abuja, are anticipated to address the rising religiously-motivated violence in the nation.
Fr. Emmanuel Faweh, from the Diocese of Kafanchan, passionately voiced, “[A]s a Church, we really need to do more in denouncing every symptom of persecution in our communities.”
Pray for an end to religious persecution!