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In Captivity, A Kidnapped Priest Dies

In Captivity, a Kidnapped Priest Dies

A Nigerian priest has been kidnapped. According to the Archdiocese of Kaduna, Nigeria, he died in captivity in March.

Father Christian Okewu Emmanuel, archdiocesan chancellor, said in a statement published May 12 by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, that Father Joseph Aketeh Bako died “at the hands of his captors between April 18 and 20, 2022.”

Father Bako was abducted on March 8 by armed terrorists who attacked the parish rectory in Kudenda, a village outside Kaduna.

Father Bako’s brother, who was visiting him the night of the kidnapping, was killed “in his presence” by the attackers, according to Father Emmanuel.

Father Bako had been ill for some time at the time of the kidnapping, and after witnessing his brother’s death, “his condition worsened and he died,” the chancellor said.

“We haven’t found the body yet, but we have confirmation of death.” “Those who were kidnapped with (Father Bako) witnessed his death,” he said.

Terrorists in the country frequently use kidnappings to extort money from families, the government, and churches. Nigerian lawmakers passed a bill in late April amending the country’s terrorism laws and prohibiting the payment of ransoms.

The legislation, if signed into law by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, would make paying ransoms punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

While lawmakers claim the measure is intended to prevent money laundering by terrorist organisations in the country, human rights organisations claim it does little to address the issue.

According to Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, in an interview published on April 28 by The Associated Press, the bill creates “more opportunities for further violations of people’s rights.”

Instead of “criminalising family members who are distressed by the abduction of their loved ones,” Ojigho believes authorities should focus on the “root cause” of kidnappings.


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