Unknown gunmen have killed a priest of the Catholic Church in Katsina State, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bello, while another priest, Rev. Fr. Joe Keke, was kidnapped at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, Malunfashi area of the state on Thursday night.
The fully armed gunmen, according to information, had stormed the Catholic parish and started shooting into the air, leaving some people injured in the process.
The National Social Communications Director, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Padre Mike Umoh, who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the gunmen suspected to be bandits, dumped the lifeless body of Fr Bello in a farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malunfashi, while the whereabouts of Fr. Keke was still unknown.
The statement by Umoh reads:
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“Last night, one of the parishes of the Sokoto Diocese, St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, Malunfashi, in Katsina State, was attacked by unknown gunmen.
“Two priests were kidnapped, Frs. Joe Keke and Alphonsus Bello. Fr Keke, the former parish priest, is in his late 70s, while Fr. Bello, the current parish priest, is in his 30s.
“This morning (Friday) the body of Fr Alphonsus Bello was found lifeless in the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malunfashi.
“However, the whereabouts of Fr. Joe Keke is still unknown. No contact has been made thus far.”
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Gambo Isa who confirmed the killing and abduction of the priest to Ripples Nigeria, said a police tactical team has been put in place by the Commissioner of Police, CP Sanusi Buba, who had mandated the team to go after the kidnappers with everything at their disposal.
By Isaac Dachen…
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