The Catholic Diocese of Minna has confirmed the release of a Catholic priest and seminarian abducted in Gyedna, Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State.
Recall that Rev. Fr. Paul Sanogo, who hails from Mali, and brother, Melchior Mahinini from Tanzania, were abducted from their parish residence on Wednesday, 2 August, 2023.
The two missionaries are members of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers).
Vice Chancellor, of Minna Diocese, Rev. Fr. Ben Nnadi, who confirmed the development in a statement on Thursday, August 24, said the victims were released on Wednesday night, August 23.
“The vice Chancellor on behalf of the Catholic Bishop of Minna, and his Auxiliary thanked the Faithfuls for their prayers and support rendered during the period,” the statement read.
“On behalf of the Bishop, Most Rev Martins Igwe Uzoukwu, and his Auxiliary Most Rev Sylvester Gopep, we wish to appreciate God for answered prayers
“I just want to officially inform you that Rev Fr Paul Sanogo and Brother Melchior Mahinini are in safe hands and are doing well.”
He further called for continued prayers for the safety of all Priests all over the world.
In a statement, the Provincial Superior of the Missionaries of Africa (M.Afr.) in Ghana-Nigeria, Fr Dennis Dashong Pam, also announced the release of the missionaries.
“It is with great joy that I inform you about the regained freedom of my two brothers today, the 23 August 2023, Fr Paul Sanogo from Mali and Brother Melchior Mahinini from Tanzania, who were kidnapped on Wednesday the 2 August 2023 at night in our community in Gyedna, Minna Diocese, Niger State, Nigeria. They are both fine, alive, and healthy despite the traumatising experience they went through in the hands of their abductors during their time of captivity for the last 3 weeks.”
Fr Dennis Dashong Pam thanked the people for their prayers and moral support.
“We asked for your moral support and prayers. Their release is a confirmation of your fervent prayers and support. That is why I come back to you all in appreciation for being there for us during this dark, difficult, and trying moment,” said Fr Pam.
Speaking to Vatican News, the Superior General of the Missionaries Africa, Fr Stan Lubungo, confirmed the news of the release and spoke of his joy and relief for the safe return of the two missionaries.
“Yes, we are very happy. I can effectively confirm that our confreres were liberated. The news came at 01.00 early this morning. It was the Provincial who informed me that our confreres had joined the others. So, I can confirm that we are very happy, and I take the opportunity to thank everyone who has been praying for their liberation. I am very happy, and just like many of our confreres, we feel relieved. We have been thinking very much about their families who have been unable to sleep; it has been three weeks! So, a lot of relief really, and we hope our confreres are in good health, but that is not our preoccupation; they will surely be looked after,” he said.