Nigerian Bishop Martin Igwemezie Uzoukwu urged people to pray for the release of a priest and a seminarian who were kidnapped by armed men on August 3 in the north-central region.
Bishop Uzoukwu said in a statement released on the day of the kidnapping, "I ask for your prayers for Father Paul Sanogo and the seminarian Melchior, who were kidnapped by bandits in the early morning of August 3 at the priest’s residence in Gyedna, Niger state."
He prayed that the Lord would hear his prayers and restore peace to the nation. In addition to Sanogo, who is originally from Burkina Faso, Melkiori Dominick Mahinini is a seminarian from Kigoma in Tanzania who serves with the congregation of the Missionaries of Africa.
In a statement, Kigoma Bishop Joseph Mlola said Mahinini spent time in Nigeria before starting his theological studies and prayed that the two abductees would soon be free.
In Niger's north-central state of Paikoro, Sanogo and the seminarian are both serving at St. Luke's Church in Gyedna.
According to Fides news agency, a representative of the Niger state police has confirmed the kidnapping and advised the other clergy to exercise extreme caution during the search.
Moreover, Gervas John Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga, the archbishop of Mbeya and president of the Tanzanian Bishops' Conference (TBC), reiterated "the importance of respecting human rights principles" as well as supporting diplomatic efforts to free the abducted persons unconditionally."
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