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Armed gunmen abduct four priests in Nigerian state Benue

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Armed gunmen attacked four Nigerian priests afterwards abducting them in Benue state of Nigeria. The four abductees have been identified as Reverend Father Victor Adigboluja of the Ijebu Ode diocese; Anthony Otegbola, Abeokuta Diocese; Joseph Ediae, Benin Archdiocese; and Emmanuel Obadjere, Warri Diocese.

Christian persecution in Nigeria

The Nigerian officials confirmed the incident, condemned the kidnapping. In this regard, Governor of Benue state Samuel Ortom termed the abduction of priests “barbaric, dehumanizing, and shameful.”

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The incident unfolded earlier this week on November 6. The priests were reportedly returning from a class marking 10th anniversary of their priestly ordination when the gunmen intercepted them. They opened indiscriminate fire on their vehicles and kidnapped them. The abductors have not been identified as yet.

A government spokesperson of the state while confirming the incident to AFP said: “They were abducted on their way to Ekpoma, Edo state, from Delta for an event,” Aniamaka said, continuing that police are hunting for the perpetrators.

This incident unfolded in a less than a three weeks’ time after abduction of five nuns. The abducted Catholic nuns were later released after two weeks. Governor Ortom speculated that the abductors might be Fulani radicals. This group has massacred thousands of Christians; perpetrating attacks on churches, Christians’ houses and villages and properties of Christians.

Earlier in 2018, two priests and 17 believers were killed by Fulani attackers in Benue State. This incident comes at the time when U.S. State Department officials visit Nigeria this week. US State Department has stated that it will look into the progress made by the Nigerian government in its fight against extremism.