Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi, of the Diocese of Kafanchan, Nigeria, has announced that Na’aman Danlami, a 25-year-old seminarian, died in an an attack at St. Raphael’s parish rectory in Fadan Kamantan.
The Bishop said that two priests, Father Emmanuel Okolo and Father Monday Noah, escaped the attack which took place on Thursday, 7 September, at around 8:00 PM.
“The attackers wanted to abduct the parish priest but because it was difficult to gain access into the priest’s residence, they resorted to setting fire on the facility,” Bishop Kundi said. “In the process, two priests escaped though sadly, we lost the seminarian who was burnt inside.”
The Bishop released a message, entitled “Nothing can take our joy away”, ahead of the feast of the Diocesan patron, St. Peter Claver, on 9 September.
As the diocese mourns the murdered seminarian, Bishop Kundi urged the people of God to give thanks for the abundant harvest in evangelization that they have experienced over the past three decades.
Bishop Kundi said, “Yes, we are bereaved! We are deeply pained by the gruesome murder of our little brother, Seminarian Naaman Ngufe.” He told the people “not [to] forget, [that] as faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are disciplined to receive everything from God and to be ready to do or give everything for Him.”
“Remember also our beloved Apostle Paul’s consoling words, that ‘in ALL things give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’ (1Thes. 5:18),” he recalled.
Bishop Kundi added, “Let us prove to our enemies with all their arsenals that they have failed again.”
“Let everyone hear our songs of praises and thanksgivings rendering the morning hours tomorrow from Kwoi to Kwasam, from Krosha to Kamantan, from Gwantu to Gora! Be strong in the Lord my spiritual children, these are trying and difficult times.”
He prayed that God might “bless and exalt His Church in Kafanchan” while assuring, “Victory shall be ours soon.”
Offering warm assurances of his closeness to the sheep in this trying moment, Bishop Kundi cited the Holy Scriptures to affirm the closeness of God to the people of God in the north-central southern Kanduna which has been ravaged by intractable violence by suspected Fulani militia.
“’Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which has been made abundantly visible to us as a Church and as a people,” said the Bishop in his message.
He used the occasion to disclose that “All the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria are united with us in prayers and thankfulness to God for his mercies and love upon us for having kept us alive and together in one faith and still waxing stronger.”
Bishop Kundi concluded his message praying that God might “grant brother Naaman merciful judgment and the reward of eternity,” adding, “may St. Peter Claver continue to intercede for us.”
Insecurity in Nigeria
Dozens of priests have been abducted in Nigeria in recent years, with many killed and several others still missing.
Christians have come under various forms of attack in the north-central region of the oil-rich nation with southern Kanduna, Plateau, and Benue being epicentres with scores of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in camps.