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Nigeria: Two Catholic priests slain in 24 hours

FATHER Christopher Odia

Catholic Diocese of Auchi

J-P Mauro - published on 06/28/22

The murders come after several church attacks have left dozens of Nigerian Catholics dead in recent weeks.

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Violence against Catholics continues to surge in Nigeria, as two priests were slain this weekend in the Kaduna and Edo states. The killings came on the heels of a church attack on Pentecost Sunday, which killed at least 3 and saw 38 abducted.

Fr. Vitus Borogo

Vatican News reports that the first incident took place on Saturday, June 25, in Kaduna state. Father Vitus Borogo was visiting Prison Farm, in Kujama, when terrorists raided the peoperty. There have been few details released of the attack, but by the end of the raid, Fr. Borogo was found dead near the Kaduna-Kachia road. 

Fr. Borogo, 50, had served as the chaplain of the Catholic community of the Kaduna State Polytechnic, as well as the Chairman of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCPDA), Kaduna state chapter.

A statement from the Kaduna Diocese read:

“Meanwhile, we commit his soul to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and call on all men and women of goodwill to continue to pray for the peaceful repose of his soul and for the consolation of his bereaved family, especially his mother.”

Fr. Christopher Odia

Less than a day later, early on Sunday morning, Fr. Christopher Odia was abducted from his parish’s rectory. The priest had been preparing for morning Mass in St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo, in the Edo State. 

Not long after his abduction, the diocese reported he was killed by his captors. Fr. Odia, 41, was the administrator of St. Michael’s church and served as Principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School, Jattu. He was ordained in 2012. 

Priests released

Separate from these incidents, but also in Kaduna state, two priests who were abducted in late May have been released. Fr. Stephen Ojapa and Fr. Oliver Okpara had been in their rectory in the early hours of May 25, when unknown assailants stormed St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. The two priests, along with two parishioners who were also abducted, were all released after over a month in captivity. 

Read more at Vatican News. 

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