An Italian Priest and 4 others were kidnapped last Thursday, Oct 12, 2017, at gunpoint. Maurizio Pallu, who has been working in Nigeria for the past three years, arrived in Benin City with his companions only to be confronted by the gunmen. It is unclear who the kidnappers are or why they took him, but it is not uncommon for people to kidnap foreigners for ransom. The local archbishop said that he is hopeful for the safe return of the priest, and that he hopes it is soon. This is the third set of kidnappings of foreign nationals this year in Southern Nigeria.
2017-10-16 Nigeria (ABCNews) An Italian priest has been kidnapped at gunpoint in Nigeria, where he has been working for three years, Italian news reports said Friday.
The 63-year-old Maurizio Pallu was taken with four others after arriving Thursday in Benin City in the country’s south, the news agency ANSA and Avvenire, the newspaper and website of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference, reported.
Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, with ordinary residents and even schoolchildren targeted as well as foreigners. Victims usually are freed unharmed after a ransom is paid, though security forces have rescued a few high-profile abductees.
Pallu had worked as a lay missionary before entering a seminary in Rome in 1988, Avvenire reported. He was later a parish priest in the Dutch city of Haarlem before being assigned to the archdiocese in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.
The archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, told the television station Tv2000 that they did not yet have news about the priest, “but we have faith and continue to hope that in a short time Maurizio will be freed.”