Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – Another Catholic priest kidnapped in southern Nigeria. Father Christopher Ogaga was taken Saturday evening as he traveled from Okpe to Warri, where he was scheduled to celebrate Mass at Mother of Redeemer Catholic Church on Sunday morning.
The kidnappers are reported to be asking for a ransom of over 15 million Naira (about $40,000).
Fr. Ogaga is also parish priest of St. Luke church and St. Jude church, both in Okpe area.
The kidnapping happened in the same district where a Catholic church collapsed on Sunday, 2 September, killing one person and injuring several others. This is the St. Paul Catholic Church in Okpe. The victim is an 11-year-old boy.
For years, priests and religious have been targets of kidnapping for ransom by criminal gangs in Nigeria, even in predominantly Christian areas like Delta State.
In January, the Nigerian Bishops denounced “the plague of kidnappings for ransom that has reached unimaginable proportions”. In a statement they wrote that “day after day citizens are kidnapped, humiliated and traumatized by heavily armed gangs. The kidnappers are merciless. In their efforts to obtain large sums of money they subject their victims to unspeakable violence lasting weeks or even months”.
For years, the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has issued a recommendation prohibiting the payment of ransoms for the release of priests and religious. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2018)
|Salesian missionary missing in Amazonia during a storm|
|São Gabriel da Cachoeira (Agenzia Fides) – On Monday 3 September Salesian missionary Norberto Hohenscherer disappeared while he was traveling alone on his canoe, down the river Uaupes, in the Brazilian Amazon. According to information sent to Agenzia Fides from the diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, the missionary was heading towards his parish of San Miguel, which is based in Lauaete, on the border between Brazil and Colombia. The incident occurred in the middle of a heavy storm in the region.
Born in Austria on October 6, 1938, Fr. Norberto arrived in Brazil in 1966 and has since worked in almost all the parishes of the diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira. The priest continues to visit the more distant communities in a systematic way, despite his age. In reality it is not the first shipwreck experienced by Father Norberto in his more than 50 years of mission in the Rio Negro region, as the local Bishop, Mgr. Edson Damian reports to Fides.
The news of the disappearance was given to the Bishop around midnight on Monday 3, after a fisherman had found objects and the boat on which the priest was traveling. Research began immediately, with the participation of several boats, together with Father Antonio Carlos Alves, superior of the Salesians of the region, which so far have not produced any results. (LMM) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2018)