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BREAKING: Terrorists abduct, burn Catholic Priest, Isaac Achi, to death in Niger

The violence against the Catholic clergy in the northern part of the country worsened Sunday morning when the Priest of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church in Kafin-koro in Paikoro local government area of Niger State, Reverend Father Isaac Achi, was burnt to death by terrorists.


The terrorists also razed the parish house and injured another Catholic Priest identified as Father Collins.


It was learnt that the incident occurred around 3 am on Sunday.


The terrorists were said to have attempted to gain entrance into the parish house and in the course of having difficulty in gaining entrance set the parish house ablaze.


The colleague of Rev. Father Achi, Father Collins was shot on the shoulder while trying to escape from the scene.


Niger Police Command confirmed the incident stating that police tactical teams attached to Kaffin-Koro Division have been drafted to the scene.


Niger police spokesman DSP Abiodun Wasiu said that before the police tactical team got to the scene, the terrorists had escaped.


DSP Wasiu said in a statement that the corpse of Father Achi was recovered while Father Collins was rushed to the hospital for treatment.


The statement reads: “On 15/01/2023 at about 0300hrs, armed bandits invaded the Parish residence of one Rev. Father Isaac Achi of St. Peters and Paul Catholic Church, along Daza road, Kafin-Koro, Paikoro LGA.


“Unfortunately, the bandits reportedly attempted to gain entrance into the residence, but seems difficult and set the house ablaze, while the said Rev. Father was burnt dead.


“A colleague of the Rev. Father identified as Father Collins was equally shot in the shoulder while trying to escape from the scene. Police tactical teams attached to Kafin-Koro Div were immediately drafted to the scene, but the hoodlums had escaped before the arrival of the teams.


“The lifeless body of Father Isaac was recovered while Father Collins was rushed to the hospital for treatment.”


Ogundele Ayodeji, the Commissioner of Police in Niger State, has reportedly dispatched a reinforcement team to the area.


The police claimed that efforts are ongoing to apprehend the bandits.


Many Catholic Priests have either been gruesomely murdered or kidnapped for ransom in the North.


In January 2021, a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Minna, Rev. Fr. John Gbakaan Yaji, was kidnapped and killed by suspected armed bandits in Niger State.


The incident took place in the Tufa village along the Lambata-Lapai road when the assailants accosted him and his younger brother on their way back to Minna after an engagement.


His corpse was later found.


On Saturday, June 25, 2022, Reverend Father Vitus Borogo was gruesomely murdered by terrorists who raided his farm in Kaduna.


In May 2022, another Catholic Priest, Fr. Joseph Bako, died in the custody of his abductors in Kaduna.


On Friday, July 15, 2022, terrorists struck again and kidnapped two Catholic Priests – Frs. John Cheitnum and Donatus Cleopas – while they were on pastoral work at Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Gura.


Fr. Cheitnum was the Director of Communications, Diocese of Kafanchan; chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jema’a LGA; coordinating chairman of CAN, Southern Kaduna; Dean of Kwoi Deanery; and the Pastor of St. James Parish Fori, Jema’a LGA. Another invaluable, charismatic priest. The Church solicited intense prayers for their quick and safe release.


Five days later, his decomposing body was discovered. Apparently, Fr. Cheitnum was murdered the same day he was abducted but his corpse was not found until July 19. Fr. Cleopas was luckier. He escaped, though there are claims that huge ransom was paid to secure his release.


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