Connect with us
Slider

us news

Catholic priest abducted in Nigeria found dead

Published

on

Nigeria :The body of a Catholic priest was discovered in Nigeria on Saturday, a day after he was kidnapped by armed men.

Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, reported on Jan. 18 that Fr. John Gbakaan “was allegedly executed with a machete in such a brutal manner that identification was hardly possible.”

The priest of the diocese of Minna, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, was attacked by unidentified men on the evening of Jan. 15. He was traveling with his younger brother along Lambata-Lapai Road in Niger State following a visit to their mother in Makurdi, Benue State.

Fides reported that the kidnappers at first demanded 30 million naira (around $70,000) for the two brothers’ release, later reducing the figure to five million naira (approximately $12,000).

Local media said that the priest’s body was found tied to a tree on Jan. 16. His vehicle, a Toyota Venza, was also recovered. His brother remains missing.

Following Gbakaan’s murder, Christian leaders called on Nigeria’s federal government to take action to stop attacks on clergy.

Local media quoted the Rev. John Joseph Hayab, vice chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in northern Nigeria, as saying: “We are simply pleading to the federal government and all security agencies to do whatever it will take to bring this evil to a stop.”

“All we are asking from the government is protection from evil men that are destroying our lives and properties.”

The incident is the latest in a series of abductions of clergy in Africa’s most populous country.

On Dec. 27, Bishop Moses Chikwe, an auxiliary of the archdiocese of Owerri, was abducted alongside his driver. He was released after five days of captivity.

On Dec. 15, Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, a member of the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, was kidnapped in Imo State en route to his father’s funeral in neighboring Anambra State. He was released the following day.

In November, Fr. Matthew Dajo, a priest of the archdiocese of Abuja, was kidnapped and released after 10 days in captivity.

Hayab was quoted as saying that the spate of kidnappings was discouraging young men from pursuing priestly vocations.

“Today in northern Nigeria, many people are living in fear and many young people are afraid to become pastors because pastors’ lives are in great danger,” he said.

“When bandits or kidnappers realize that their victims are priests or pastors, it seems a violent spirit does take over their heart to demand more ransom and in some cases go to the extent of killing the victim.”

News  reported that on Jan 10 Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja said that the abductions would give the country “a bad name” internationally.

“Left unchecked by the Nigerian authorities, this shameful and disgusting act will continue to give Nigeria a bad name and scare away visitors and investors to the country,” he said.

Releasing its annual World Watch List report last week, the advocacy group Open Doors said that security in Nigeria had deteriorated to the point that the country had entered the top 10 worst countries for the persecution of Christians.

In December, the U.S. State Department listed Nigeria among the worst countries for religious freedom, describing the West African nation as a “country of particular concern.”

This is a formal designation reserved for nations where the worst violations of religious freedom are taking place, the other countries being China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

The step was praised by the leadership of the Knights of Columbus.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that “Nigeria’s Christians have suffered grievously at the hands of Boko Haram and other groups.”

He suggested that the murders and kidnappings of Christians in Nigeria “verge on genocide.”

He said: “The Christians of Nigeria, both Catholic and Protestant, deserve attention, recognition, and relief now. Nigeria’s Christians should be able to live in peace and practice their faith without fear.”

us news

Helicopter crash: French billionaire and MP Olivier Dassault dies

Published

on

French President Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to billionaire and conservative politician Olivier Dassault, 69, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, local time.

Mr Dassault was the eldest son of late French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose namesake Dassault Aviation builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.

“Olivier Dassault loved France,” Mr Macron said on Twitter.

“Captain of industry, lawmaker, local elected official, reserve commander in the air force: during his life, he never ceased to serve our country, to value its assets. His sudden death is a great loss. Thoughts on his family and loved ones.”

The private helicopter crashed during the afternoon on Sunday in Normandy, where Mr Dassault had a holiday home, according to a police source.

The pilot was also killed.

A representative for the conservative Les Republicains party in France’s National Assembly since 2002, he represented the Oise area of northern France.

Mr Dassault was considered the 361st richest man in the world alongside his two brothers and sister, with wealth of about 6 billion euros ($9.29 billion) mostly inherited from his father, according to the 2020 Forbes rich list.

He stepped down from his role on the board of Dassault due to his political role to avoid any conflict of interest.

Mr Dassault, seen as the favourite of founder Marcel Dassault, was once considered favoured to succeed Serge Dassault at the head of the family holding, but that role went to former Dassault Aviation chief executive Charles Edelstenne.

“Great sadness at the news of the sudden passing of Olivier Dassault,” Valerie Pecresse, a conservative politician who is president of the Paris region, said on Twitter.

“A businessman, but also a renowned photographer, he had a passion for politics in his blood, rooted in his department of Oise. My warm thoughts to his family.”

Continue Reading

us news

Pope Francis raises concerns over Christian safety

Published

on

Pope Francis arrived in Baghdad on Friday for a three-day visit to Iraq, undeterred by suggestions that his trip might fuel a surge in coronavirus cases, undaunted by the precarious security situation and committed to offering support to a Christian community decimated by years of war.

It’s the first trip Francis has embarked on since the pandemic swept the world and the first time a head of the Roman Catholic Church has visited the country.

The journey promises to be as rich in symbolism as it is fraught with risk.

“I am happy to travel again,” the pope said, taking off his blue surgical mask to address reporters en route to Iraq. His Alitalia flight was accompanied by U.S. aircraft from the Ayn al Asad military base after entering Iraqi airspace.

By choosing Iraq as his first destination since the pandemic began, Francis waded directly into the issues of war and peace, and poverty and religious strife, in an ancient biblical land.

“This trip is emblematic,” he said, calling it “a duty to a land martyred for many years.”

He was welcomed by a small color guard and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The pope left the airport complex in a black BMW, his window rolled down. He waved as he passed a small group of faithful waving Iraqi and Vatican flags behind a metal fence on the side of the highway.

The pope’s vehicle was surrounded by a police motorcycle escort as he drove past miles of concrete blast walls that were put up during Iraq’s sectarian violence.

After 2003, the road was one of the most dangerous in Baghdad, with frequent roadside bombs and suicide car bombs. Those are now in the past, and palm trees planted to beautify the road greet visitors.

As he arrived at the presidential palace, the pope’s car was flanked by members of Iraqi security forces on horseback. Francis emerged from that car, limping noticeably as he made his way along a red carpet.

The pope is known to suffer from sciatica, which he told reporters in 2013 was the worst thing that had happened to him in his early days as pope.

It was the start of what promised to be an arduous journey that will take the 84-year-old pontiff to battle-scarred churches and desert pilgrimage sites.

In an area known as the cradle of civilization, the modern history of Mesopotamia — now present-day Iraq — has been scarred by lasting hardship: three decades of despotic rule, followed by nearly two decades of war and a wave of carnage unleashed by the Islamic State.

Once a rich tapestry of faiths, Iraq has been hollowed out as orthodoxies hardened. Its Jews are almost completely gone, and its Christian community grows smaller every year. About one million have fled since the 2003 United States-led invasion. An estimated 500,000 remain.

That backdrop makes the pope’s visit on Saturday to the ancient city of Ur — traditionally held to be the birthplace of Abraham, who is revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike — all the more powerful.

To that end, his trip carries a motto from the Gospel of Matthew: “You are all brothers.”

But the pope’s agenda also casts a spotlight on the terrible toll wrought when divisions harden and violence takes over.

On Friday evening he met with priests, bishops and others at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. Just over a decade ago, the church came under assault when attackers unleashed fusillade of grenades, bullets and suicide vests. At least 58 people were killed in the assault, which was carried out by an affiliate of Al Qaeda.

It was far from the deadliest massacre in the country, where tens of thousands of Muslims have died in war and sectarian fighting, but the attack tore at the heart of the Christian community.

An image of Francis is painted on the blast walls that now ring Our Lady of Salvation.

Francis made it clear that after Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had to scuttle plans to visit the remaining Christians in the country, he would not cancel his own trip.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Enter your email address

Featured

Media22 hours ago

വിദേശ പൗരത്വം എടുത്ത നിങ്ങളുടെ പേരില്‍ നാട്ടില്‍ സ്വത്തുക്കള്‍ ഉണ്ടോ ? എങ്കില്‍ അതു വില്‍ക്കുകയോ പണയം വയ്ക്കുകയോ ചെയ്യണമെങ്കില്‍ റിസര്‍വ് ബാങ്കിന്റെ പ്രത്യേക അനുമതി വേണം; സുപ്രീം കോടതിയുടെ സുപ്രധാനമായ വിധി പ്രവാസികളെ എങ്ങനെ ബാധിക്കും എന്നറിയാം

വിദേശ പൗരത്വം എടുത്തിട്ടുള്ള ഇന്ത്യാക്കാർക്ക് ഇനി നാട്ടിലുള്ള സ്വത്തുക്കൾ ക്രയവിക്രയം ചെയ്യുവാനും പണയപ്പെടുത്തുവാനുമൊക്കെ ഇനിമുതൽ റിസർവ് ബാങ്കിന്റെ പ്രത്യേക അനുമതി ആവശ്യമായി വരും. ഫോറിൻ എക്സ്ചേഞ്ച് റെഗുലേഷൻ...

us news22 hours ago

Helicopter crash: French billionaire and MP Olivier Dassault dies

French President Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to billionaire and conservative politician Olivier Dassault, 69, who died in a helicopter...

Sports23 hours ago

Two gold medals in two weeks; Wrestler Vinesh Phogat has made India proud

Living up to the expectations, star Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat won her second gold medal in as many weeks with...

us news23 hours ago

Pope Francis raises concerns over Christian safety

Pope Francis arrived in Baghdad on Friday for a three-day visit to Iraq, undeterred by suggestions that his trip might...

Media23 hours ago

കുവൈത്ത് കര്‍ഫ്യൂ; നിയമലംഘകര്‍ക്ക് കടുത്ത പിഴയും തടവും ശിക്ഷ

കുവൈറ്റ് സിറ്റി : കുവൈത്തിൽ കർഫ്യു നിയമലംഘകർക്ക് കടുത്ത പിഴയും തടവും ശിക്ഷ. ഞായറാഴ്ച്ച വൈകിട്ട് അഞ്ചു മണി മുതലാണ് കുവൈത്തിൽ ഭാഗിക കർഫ്യൂ പ്രാബല്യത്തിലാവുന്നത്. കർഫ്യുവിൽ...

Media24 hours ago

ചര്‍ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് കേരളാ സ്റ്റേറ്റ് 98-ാമത് ജനറല്‍ കണ്‍വന്‍ഷന്‍ മാര്‍ച്ച് 11 മുതല്‍ 13 വരെ

മുളക്കുഴ: 2021 മാര്‍ച്ച് 11 മുതല്‍ 13 (വ്യാഴം, വെള്ളി, ശനി) വരെ മുളക്കുഴ സീയോന്‍ കുന്നില്‍ നടക്കുന്ന ചര്‍ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് ഇന്‍ ഇന്‍ഡ്യാ കേരളാ...

Trending