NIGERIA, Maria Fischer, with AICA material •
Fathers Chochos Kunav and Ralph Ogigba were kidnapped on Sunday 30th April while returning from a visit to St Francis Parish in Delta State, southern Nigeria. Update May 5: We just got the confirmation that both priests were set free! —
Two Catholic priests have been kidnapped in Delta State, southern Nigeria. They are Father Chochos Kunav, a member of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers, and Father Ralph Ogigba, a member of the clergy of the Diocese of Warri, pastor of St Francis Church in Agbara Otor, Ughelli North, Delta State.
Father Chochos Kunav works in the Ibadan Diocese but had gone to Warri to visit friends. “Unfortunately, last night (Sunday, April 30), after a brief visit to a neighbouring parish, Fathers Chochos Kunav and Ralph Ogigba were abducted while returning to Fr. Ogigba’s parish on the road opposite the Ibru Agbara Otor University,” read a statement issued by the Schoenstatt Fathers that same Sunday.
The statement adds: “We ask for intense prayers for a speedy and safe release. May Jesus, the High Priest and Good Shepherd, take care of his priests and may our Mother Thrice Admirable and Victorious Queen of Schoenstatt intercede for them”.
In a communiqué, the Delta State Police Command also confirmed the abduction of the Catholic priests. In the text signed by the Public Relations Officer, Edafe Bright, the command assured that it is on the trail of the kidnappers and is working proactively to ensure that the clergymen are released unharmed.
On 15 April, Father Michael Ifeanyi Asomugha, pastor of St Paul’s Church in Okigwe, Imo State, in the south-east of the country, was also kidnapped. The priest was released by his captors nine days later.
On Sunday, the news about Father Pablo Pol spread among the Schoenstatters. In the team of collaborators of schoenstatt.org, people from Spain, Portugal, Austria, Argentina, Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico and Bolivia affirmed their prayers of solidarity. “This morning at Mass we prayed for them and for their early release in the Youth Shrine,” said Sandra Lezcano, from Asuncion, Paraguay, and the Family Federation from Spain prayed for them at Mass on Sunday morning.
Let us pray for them and for all the people of Nigeria.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org