Seminarian Burned Alive Photo: Aid to the Church in Need

Nigeria: Seminarian Burned Alive

The attackers aimed to kidnap the parish priest. When they failed in their attempt to enter the priest’s house, they set it on fire.

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María Lozano y John Newton

(ZENIT News / Kafanchan, 09.10.2023).- A seminarian was burned alive on the night of September 7th after extremists set fire to a church in the diocese of Kafanchan in Nigeria.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 7th, when Fulani bandits attacked and set fire to the rectory of St. Raphael Parish in Fadan Kamantan, Kaduna State.

According to Bishop Julius Kundi of Kafanchan, the parish priest, Father Emmanuel Okolo, and the curate managed to escape the fire, but 25-year-old seminarian Na’aman Danlami died in the attack.

Speaking to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Kundi said, “The attackers aimed to kidnap the parish priest. Failing to gain entry to the priest’s house, they set it on fire. The two priests managed to escape, but tragically, the seminarian did not.”

“The assault lasted for over an hour, but there was no response or support from the military forces. There is a checkpoint one kilometer away, but there was a complete absence of any reaction,” added the bishop, who continued, “It’s a terrible loss. We retrieved Na’aman Danlami’s body this morning and took it to the morgue. This seminarian is the second member we have lost in the diocese at the hands of Fulani bandit terrorist attacks; last year, Father John Mark Cheitnum, the director of communications for the Kafanchan diocese, was kidnapped and brutally murdered.”

Another seminarian, Ezekiel Nuhu, was kidnapped on September 7th in Kaduna, along with his father. He was studying for the priesthood in Abuja but had gone on vacation to southern Kaduna with his family. The Church in Nigeria has suffered continuous attacks against its clergy.

In 2022, four priests were killed in the country, and 28 were kidnapped, and this year, in 2023, the number of kidnapped clergy has already reached fourteen.

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