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08/10/2023 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – A Catholic Priest, Paul Sanogo, and a seminarian, Melkiori Dominick, were kidnapped from their church on the morning of August 3. The Nigerian kidnappers are now demanding $70,000 USD ransom for the two men. 

These two men, originally from Tanzania, are workers and missionaries at St. Luke’s Catholic Church-Gvenda in the Diocese of Minna. Rev. Martin Igwemezie Ozoukwu, a bishop of Minna, announced the kidnapping of the men and asked the diocese to pray for the safe return of the men.  

Currently, there are reports from The Citizen, an English newspaper in the region, that Tanzania’s ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Benson Bana, working to rescue the two men. 

“After receiving reports of abduction, the Embassy has informed the government at home [Tanzania]. We have also communicated the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria,” Bana said. 

When discussing this issue further, Bana discussed the difficulty in negotiating the demanded ransom of $70,000 USD, as it is estimated that the bandits could raise their demands to over $665,000 USD.  

During the Tanzanian bishops’ conference, Archbishop Gervas Nyaisonga prayed for the men saying, “We insist on the importance of respecting the principles of human rights and stir on diplomatic efforts to ensure abducted people are unconditionally freed.” 

Nigeria has a severe issue with Christian persecution, with several incidents occurring already in 2023. The country has previously been designated as a country of particular concern (CPC) by the U.S. Department of State, with House Resolution 82 encouraging the reinstatement of this designation in the coming designations of 2023. 

ICC asks you to pray alongside us for Father Paul Sanogo and seminarian Melkiori Dominick. 

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