By Emmanuel Nduka
Rev. Fr. John Cheitnum, one of the two Catholic priests kidnapped on July 15 in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, has been killed, while the other, Rev. Fr. Donatus Suleiman, escaped from his captors, the Catholic Church announced on Tuesday.
Both priests were kidnapped on July 15 at the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Garu in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State after they arrived there on an assignment.
In a statement on Tuesday by the Counsellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Emmanuel Okolo, the Church said Suleiman escaped from his captors and has reunited with the church, but added that: “it is with deep sense of sorrow and pains that the bishop, clergy, religious and laity of the diocese of Kafanchan announce the gruesome murder of very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum.”
The statement added that Cheitnum was murdered on the day he was kidnapped and his corpse was later discovered almost decomposing on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Cheitnum was until his death the CAN Chairman of Jama’a local government of Kaduna State, as well as the coordinating Chairman of CAN in southern Kaduna. He was also the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, director of communications in the diocese of Kafanchan and pastor of Saint James Parish in Jama’a local government.
Mr Okolo added that Mr Chietnum will be buried on July 21 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Kafanchan, at 10 a.m, adding that the diocese has declared two-day mourning for the deceased.