By Daniel Tyokua
Miscreants have attacked St.Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, in Katsina state killed a priest and abducted another.
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), confirmed that unknown gunmen killed a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bello, and also kidnapped another one, Rev. Fr. Joe Keke, who is in his 70s.
Director of Communications, CSN, Padre Mike Umoh, in a statement on Friday, stated that the Director of Communications for Sokoto Catholic diocese, Rev. Fr. Chris Omotosho, reported the incident to the headquarters of CSN in Abuja.
He said the Dean of Malumfashi Deanery, Fr. Stephen Ojapah (MSP) had earlier reported that the parish house of St. Vincent Ferrer Church had been attacked by bandits numbering about 15, and Frs. Joe Keke and Alphonsus Bello were kidnapped.
“The lifeless body of Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bello was found on Friday morning on the farmland behind the Catechetical Training School, Malumfashi in Katsina State, which is part of Sokoto diocese under Bishop Matthew Kukah,” he noted.He confirmed that the whereabouts of Fr. Joe Keke is still unknown and no contact has been made thus far by the kidnappers.
However, the Katsina State Police Command said it has arrested two persons in connection with the attack on the church during which a priest lost his life while another was abducted by suspected bandits.
The Katsina Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Gambo Isah confirmed that, “reports indicate that bandits invaded the church on Thursday night and abducted Rev. Fr. Joe Keke, while the lifeless body of another priest, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bello, was discovered in a nearby bush on Friday morning.
“We cannot say what led to the death of the priest because when the body was taken to the hospital, doctors did not find any gunshot wounds on him,” the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Gambo Isah, told our correspondent.
According to him, “we have arrested two persons including the security guard at the church for complicity in the incident.“Our preliminary investigations indicate that the security man assisted the hoodlums in gaining access to the priest having directed them to scale the fence of a hotel behind the church premises.
“We have since launched a manhunt to rescue the abducted priest and apprehend the hoodlums”