Gunmen Kidnap Four Catholic Seminarians in Central Nigeria

A woman cries while trying to console a woman who lost her husband during the funeral service for people killed during clashes between cattle herders and farmers, on January 11, 2018, in Ibrahim Babangida Square in the Benue state capital Makurdi. Violence between the mainly Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian …
UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty

Unidentified gunmen stormed the Good Shepherd Catholic Major Seminary this week, abducting four students, in Kaduna State, central Nigeria.

The armed assailants arrived at the seminary around 10:30pm last Wednesday, according to Father Joel Usman, registrar of the seminary, and began shooting at students, professors, and staff members.

According to Usman, the assault by the gunmen at the seminary lasted for about a half hour and when they finally left, four students were found to be missing.

“The Good Shepherd Major Seminary was attacked by armed bandits,” Usman said. “After a head count of students with security agents, four seminarians have been declared missing.”

The seminary, which trains students for the Roman Catholic priesthood, is located in Kakau village along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

Father Usman has asked for prayers for the release of the students.

Reports Saturday said that Kaduna police have launched a search for the four missing seminary students.

Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, Umar Muri, visited the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, and gave his assurance that the police would secure their release.

According to the command’s spokesman, Yakubu Sabo, the commissioner assessed the scene and the level of security at the seminary with a view to fortifying the area.

“The bandits accessed the school dormitory where 268 students were being accommodated,” the police spokesman said.

He also said that the command had had reached out to the Inspector General of Police Intelligent Response Team for technical support as well as mobilizing its personnel to track the perpetrators.

Police have not yet discovered the identity of the kidnappers, but a recent spate of violence against Christians by Muslim extremists in central Nigeria suggests the attack may have been religiously motivated.

In the most recent World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution, compiled by Christian watchdog group Open Doors, Nigeria ranked number 12.

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