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Dozens Still Captive in Nigeria After Deadly Raid on Catholic Town

Armed bandits killed one person and kidnapped more than 100 others in a March 14 raid on a predominantly Catholic town in north-central Nigeria, according to a Catholic priest and other local sources.

Father Dauda Musa Bahago, a coordinator for the Justice, Development, and Peace Commission, a Catholic aid organization, told CNA the attack took place in his hometown of Adunu, in Niger state, during a memorial Mass in a nearby town for Father Isaac Achia, a Catholic priest who was burned to death Jan. 15. The bandits began attacking Adunu at 9 a.m., then moved to attack the town hosting the memorial service but turned back when they encountered Nigerian army soldiers guarding the town, Bahago said.

Three weeks after the attack, 62 people are still being held for ransom by Muslim Fulani bandits, Bahago said. One man, Moses Tanko Arada, was killed March 29 when no ransom was paid, and the kidnappers released three women as part of the negotiation process, he said.

The others managed to escape, he said.

“They were demanding a ransom of an amount in Naira equivalent to more than $450,000 but were bargaining for a lesser amount in the last few days,” Bahago said.

Adunu — a town of 5,000 people approximately 20 miles east of Minna, the Niger state capital — is more than half Catholic with Protestant and Muslim residents making up the rest of the population, Bahago said.

Additional attacks took place in the same area on April 1 and April 4, the priest told CNA. More information was not immediately available on April 5.

On March 14, about 300 people gathered in the town of Kaffinkoro for a Mass for Father Achia, Bahago said.

While the Mass was underway, more than 300 bandits encircled Adunu, six miles away, and the neighboring village of Kwagana, he said. The bandits abducted residents, destroyed homes, and looted shops, he said. The priest said a medical worker was shot near Kwagana.

Source : CNA