One Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bello, has been reportedly killed while another priest, Rev. Fr. Joe Keke, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church Malunfashi, Katsina state.
It was gathered that the gunmen, on Thursday night, stormed the Catholic parish and started shooting into the air, leaving some people injured in the process.
The National Social Communications Director, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Padre Mike Umoh, who confirmed the incident, said the suspected bandits dumped the lifeless body of Fr Alphonsus Bello in the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malunfashi while the whereabouts of Fr. Joe Keke was still unknown.
He said, “Last night, one of the parishes of the Sokoto Diocese – St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church Malunfashi, in Katsina state – was attacked by unknown gunmen.
“Two priests were kidnapped, Frs. Joe Keke and Alphonsus Bello. Fr Keke, the former parish priest, is in his late 70s while Fr. Bello, the current parish priest, is in his 30s.
“This morning (Friday) the body of Fr Alphonsus Bello was found lifeless in the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malunfashi. However, the whereabouts of Fr. Joe Keke is still unknown. No contact has been made thus far.”
Meanwhile, a reliable source from the Catholic diocese of Sokoto said the deceased priest belonged to the Kaduna Archdiocese, but was on Secondment in Sokoto Diocese and deployed to the Malumfashi parish in Katsina.