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Catholic priest burned alive in Northwest Nigeria

Father Isaac Achi, a Nigerian Catholic priest, was burned alive in Nigeria on Jan. 15, 2023. | Diocese of Minna

A Catholic priest was burned alive and another was shot and wounded in northern Nigeria, on January 15.

Around 02:00 GMT in the village of Kafin-Koro, in Niger State, armed individuals locally referred to as "bandits" set fire to the residence of a priest, who was burned to death, said Wasiu Biodun, spokesman for the police in the state.

They set fire to the house of Father Isaac Achi, after failing to gain access. "Unfortunately, the bandits set the house on fire, while the said Reverend Father was burnt alive," he said.

Among the charred remains of the church building of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, the body of Father Isaac Achi was found on January 15, according to the Catholic Diocese of Minna.  

Father Collins Omeh, escaped but sustained gunshot wounds while trying to escape and is being treated at a hospital.

In another attack a few hours later, "bandits" broke into a house in the village of Dan Tsauni (Kankara district, northwest), Katsina State, and abducted five worshippers preparing to attend Sunday mass in a nearby church.

"The terrorists seized five people in the house, shot a priest in hand and fled with the five hostages," state police spokesman Gambo Isa told AFP.

The Daily Post reported that Nigeria's governor, Alhaji Sani Bello Abubakar, condemned the attack as being "ungodly and inhumane" and has instructed local security agencies to pursue the attackers.

“To kill a priest in such a manner shows that we are no longer safe, that these terrorists have lost their minds, and that drastic action is needed to stop the carnage,” Bello said.

At the time of his death, he was serving as a parish priest at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. In addition, he was chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) local branch in his locality.

“Rest in full peace the souls of Father Achi and all the faithful departed,” the Nigeria Catholic Network shared from the Diocese of Minna.

The motive of the armed attackers, known locally as "bandits," were unknown. For nearly 14 years, jihadis have been fighting to establish a caliphate in Nigeria's Muslim north.


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