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Viral Video: Abducted Priest Appeals for Help From Zamfara Kidnappers’ Den

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The parish priest of St. Raymond Catholic Church in Damba, Gusau, Zamfara State, Mikah Suleiman, has made a desperate plea for help after being abducted by bandits. I

n a chilling 51-second video circulating on social media, Suleiman, dressed in a blue T-shirt and boxer shorts, is seen sitting on the ground and appealing for assistance.

The abduction occurred in the early hours of June 22nd from the rectory within the church premises in Gusau, the state capital.

Suleiman, the only person reportedly held captive by the bandits, recounted the harrowing conditions of his captivity in the video.

“I am pleading for help to be freed from this place. They (bandits) told me that they don’t keep people here for long. People don’t stay for up to a week,” Suleiman expressed fearfully.

“They told me that killing a person is not difficult for them. They said they are just helping me by keeping me; please, I am asking for help.”

He continued, displaying injuries sustained during his ordeal, “Please save my life in the name of God. Look at my head; look at my legs. I was tied to a rope, and I am the only one in this place.

“Normally, if they kidnap somebody, they don’t waste time. If ransom is not paid immediately, they kill the person. Please, for God’s sake, help me.”

Towards the end of the video, a stick from one of the bandits off-camera is seen touching his head.

Nuhu Iliya, acting chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, had confirmed the abduction in a statement, urging the public to pray for Suleiman’s swift and safe return.

“With sadness in our hearts, we write to inform the general public of the kidnap of one of our priests, Revd. Fr. Mikah Suleiman.

“This sad event occurred in the early hours of today, Saturday, 22nd June 2024 in the Father’s rectory,” Iliya stated. Fr. Mikah is the Parish Priest of St. Raymond Catholic Church Damba, Gusau, Zamfara State.”

“We invite all Christ’s faithful and all men and women of goodwill to earnestly pray for his quick and safe release.

We equally commend him to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests, for his speedy release from the hands of his abductors.”

Kidnapping has become a pervasive issue in Zamfara State, significantly impacting its social fabric, economy, and security landscape.

The state has experienced a surge in kidnappings in recent years, driven by various factors including economic hardship, political instability, and the activities of criminal gangs.

Kidnapping, once sporadic, has evolved into a lucrative enterprise for criminal syndicates operating within the region.

These groups often target vulnerable communities, highways, and even schools, taking advantage of the state’s rugged terrain and porous borders with neighboring countries.

Conflicts over land and natural resources, particularly involving pastoralists and farmers, exacerbate tensions and provide opportunities for criminal gangs to exploit.

In February 2021, armed bandits attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, kidnapping 279 schoolgirls.

This incident garnered widespread international attention and underscored the escalating security crisis in the region.

The girls were eventually released after negotiations between the state government and the kidnappers, highlighting the prevalence of ransom payments as a resolution tactic.

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