By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Four Catholic nuns were abducted by unknown persons in Nigeria’s south-eastern state of Imo on Sunday.
The nuns, Sisters Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu and Benita Agu, were seized on their way to Mass.
The kidnapped sisters belong to the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus the Savior, which announced the sad incident in a statement signed by Sr. Zita Ihedoro, the Secretary-General.
A part of the statement read: “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is with great pain that we bring to your notice the kidnapping of four of our sisters mentioned above.”
“The sad event of their abduction occurred around Okigwe-Umulolo area this morning shortly after the sisters were on their way to the thanksgiving Mass of our sister.
The congregation implored “an intense prayer for their quick and safe release” and prayed Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary “for the unconditional release of our dear sisters.”
Nigeria has seen an upsurge in kidnapping incidents in recent months, with reports of several citizens abducted, often for ransom, by bandits and armed persons across Africa’s most populous country.
The abductions have also targeted priests and religious leaders of different denominations.
Just last week, a Catholic priest and a seminarian were kidnapped on the road between Okigwe and Umunneochi. Two days later, they were released.