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Bandits stormed and opened fire at the Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church Malunfashi in Katsina State and left scores injured. Aside from that, they also kidnapped two Catholic priests, one of which was found dead on Friday, May 21, 2021.

The deceased was identified as Rev Father Alphonsus Bello whose body was found at farmland behind the Catechetical Training School. The other priest was identified as Rev Fr. Joe Keke who is in his late 70s. His whereabouts as of this writing remain unknown.

The incident was confirmed by the National Social Communications Director, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Padre Mike Umoh.

"This morning (today May, 21) the body of Fr. Alphonsus Bello was found lifeless on the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School. We do not know where Fr. Joe Keke is. So far no contact has been made with the kidnappers," read an official statement

Bello was the parish priest of the church while Keke was a priest in residence. The 30-year-old belonged to the Archdiocese of Kaduna but was destined for the diocese of Sokoto and engaged in the parish of Malumfashi in Katsina. It was the latest incident as the country continued to deal with the rising state of insecurity.

“May the soul of Fr. Bello and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,” Fr. Cornelius Tagwai, chancellor of Sokoto diocese said.

The latest incident comes not long after another Catholic priest serving in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna archdiocese was kidnapped along with 10 other people in an attack by a group of gunmen. Eight people died from that incident.

Two days after that, another group of eight people was also killed when bandits attacked an Assemblies of God church building in northern Nigeria.

“Nigeria is said to be the third country most impacted by terrorism. We call on the government to do the needful in ensuring that terrorists are checkmated, criminals rounded up, bandits dismantled, and kidnappers put out of business,” Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja said.

Crime Scene
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