Six sisters, kidnapped on November 13, 2017, in southern Nigeria, were set free for the Epiphany, on January 6 and 7, 2018. They were able to return to their community after a medical examination.
After the Angelus on Sunday, December 17, Pope Francis had asked all Christians to recite a “Hail Mary” for their liberation.
Members of the Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Christ, three sisters and three novices, were taken by armed men who entered their convent in Iguoriakhi, in the province of Edo, in the south of the country.
The local press, according to La Croix, reports that the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 20 million nairas ($51,000), but that, in conformity with the decision of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference regarding the liberation of ecclesiastical personnel, no sum was paid. The local authorities have confirmed that the religious were released without a ransom, during a two-day operation conducted by the police force.
Not the First Kidnapping of Religious
In the beginning of September 2017, a priest from the diocese of Imo, in the south of the country, Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo, was kidnapped then assassinated. On October 23, in the State of Ondo (south), Fr. David Ayeola was also killed by his kidnappers who were demanding an important amount of money.
Three other priests kidnapped during the past year were fortunate enough to be released.
With the north of the country still threatened by the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram, the south of the country has, according to the website africanews, become “an important nest for criminal groups who practice various forms of traffic, including kidnappings for juicy ransoms”.
This is another reason to pray for the missionary priests of the Society of St. Pius X in Enugu, the former capital of the Biafra, in southern Nigeria.