BY Staff Reporter | October 17 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-POPE-FRANCIS-PRAYS

Pope prays as Italian priest kidnapped in Nigeria

Pope Francis has offered his prayers after an Italian Catholic priest was kidnapped last week by armed men in Benin City, Nigeria.

63-year-old Fr Maurizio Pallu, a member of the Neocatechumental Way who has been serving as a missionary for the past three years in Nigeria, was taken by the men on Thursday.

“Pope Francis has been informed about the Italian priest kidnapped in Nigeria, Fr Maurizio Pallu, and is praying for him,” director of the Holy See press office, Greg Burke, said on Twitter.

Fr Pallu hails from Florence, and was a lay missionary for 11 years in a number of different countries.

He joined the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome in 1988, and after being a chaplain in two Roman parishes he was sent to Holland, where he was a pastor in the Diocese of Haarlem.

He was then posted to the Archdiocese of Abuja in Nigeria.

The Italian bishops’ publication, Avvenire, states that Fr Pallu’s abductors may be local criminals that would seek a ransom in order for the priest to be returned.

The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, is active in the northern areas of the country, but Fr Pallu was captured in the south of Nigeria.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.

A number of other priests have recently been kidnapped from the state in which Benin City is located, Edo, with one being killed.

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