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Bandits abduct catholic priest, 7 others in Katsina

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have abducted a Parish priest of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Stephen Ojapa Ojapa, and his assistant, Oliver Okpara, in Gidan…

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have abducted a Parish priest of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Stephen Ojapa Ojapa, and his assistant, Oliver Okpara, in Gidan Mai Kanbu village of Kafur local government area of Katsina State.

Local sources in both Gozaki and Marabar Kanya communities revealed that the bandits stormed the church compound of the reverend fathers in the early hours of Wednesday and whisked them away along two others believed to be their guests.

A resident of Marabar Kanya, who pleaded anonymity, said the suspected bandits came on motorcycles, but parked them at a far place and trekked to the church compound.

“The residents of Gidan Maikanbu said they didn’t hear gunshots during the attack but the heavy movements of motorcycles was evident. It was only after the abductors had left that some of the staff of the church started running out to inform people of the attack,” he said.

The Catholic Diocese of Sokoto confirmed the abduction in an online statement signed by the Director of Communications, Chris Omotosho.

“As at midnight of today, 25th May, 2022, gunmen broke into the rectory of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Gidan Maikambo, Kafur LGA of Katsina State.

“The parish priest and his assistant Rev. Frs. Stephen Ojapa, MSP, & Oliver Okpara and 2 boys in the house were kidnapped.

“No information as to their whereabouts. Kindly pray for their safety and release. Thank you,” the statement read.

In a related development, suspected bandits have reportedly raided Bare-bari village in Safana LGA where they abducted four persons.

A resident of Babban-dudu village which is close to the attacked community, said a popular politician in the village, Alhaji Dan Mashubulle, was among the persons abducted during the attack.

He added that the operation lasted several hours as the bandits conducted house-to-house search in order to rustle animals.

When contacted, the police spokesman in the state, Gambo Isa, said the command was not aware of the abduction but would contact the Divisional Police Officer in Kafur local government area to get the details.

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