Nigeria: Bandits kill a Catholic priest, kidnap another

Father Alphonsus Bello, a pastor in northern Nigeria, was killed while another priest, Father Joe Keke, was abducted by armed bandits in an attack.

From Vatican News Staff Writer

Father Alphonsus Bello, a pastor in northern Nigeria, was found dead Friday morning while another priest, Father Joe Keke, was allegedly kidnapped by unknown bandits, a symptom of the increasing insecurity in the country.

At the time of his death, Father Bello was pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer’s Catholic Church in Malunfashi, Katsina State. Father Keke was a priest in the residence.

The National Director of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Father Mike Umoh, confirmed the news in a statement that Father Bello’s lifeless body was found in farmland behind the Malumfashi Catechetical School.

Attack in the night

Father Umoh said Father Bello’s tragic death occurred around 1:35 am following an earlier report from the Dean of Malumfashi Deanery, Father Stephen Ojapah, MSP, which indicated that the St. Vincent Ferrer rectory was attacked by a group of people there were about fifteen bandits.

Frs. Alphonsus Bello and Joe Keke were kidnapped by the bandits’ group during the attack.

The whereabouts of Father Keke (75) are still unknown and the kidnappers have not made any contact.

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