NIGERIA: Abducted Kaduna Catholic Priest Regains Freedom

By Wesley Omondi

DABO, JUNE 11, 2024 (CISA)— Fr Gabriel Ukeh, the father in charge of  St. Thomas Catholic Parish, Zaman Dabo in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has been freed less than 24 hours after his abduction.

The news of his freedom was confirmed by Fr Okafor Tochukwu, the Director of Communications for the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, who expressed gratitude for the priest’s safe return.

Fr Ukeh was abducted from his parish rectory early on Sunday, June 9, 2024. His swift release, announced late Monday night, has been a source of relief and joy for the local community and the broader Catholic Church in Nigeria. The exact circumstances of his release remain unclear, but it is evident that concerted efforts were made to secure his freedom.

Fr Tochukwu highlighted the immense support and prayers from various quarters, acknowledging the collective efforts that contributed to the successful outcome.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the kind and prayerful support of all and sundry who worked round the clock to make this a reality,” he said.

Kidnappings have become a troubling issue in Nigeria, with clergy members often targeted. This incident adds to the growing list of clergy abductions, raising concerns about security and the safety of religious leaders in the region. The release of Fr Ukeh brings a moment of respite, but the underlying issues of insecurity and violence remain a significant challenge for the authorities and communities alike.