Gunmen on Sunday night kidnapped the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau State, Rev James Kantoma.
Kantoma, also the Catholic priest in charge of St Anthony’s Parish, Angware community in the local government, was kidnapped at his house in the community.
A resident of Angware community, Silas Joshua, confirmed the cleric’s kidnapping in Jos on Monday.
Joshua said, “When the gunmen arrived the community at night, they moved straight to the house of the Reverend Father.
“Some youths in the area, who were alerted, tried to stop and even gave them a hot chase into the bush but the gunmen started shooting everywhere and eventually took the Reverend Father away.”
The State Chairman of CAN, Polycarp Lubo, also confirmed the development, describing the incident as sad.
Lubo said, “Since the gunmen took the Reverend Father away, we have not heard anything either from him or the abductors up till this morning.
“This is so sad. But we are praying for him that no harm will befall him wherever he is. But for how long shall innocent citizens continue to be kidnapped or abducted without anything being done to address the problem?”
The Police Public Relations Officer of the State Command, Alabo Alfred, when contacted, said that the Command was aware of the incident and had deployed officers and men from the anti-kidnapping unit to the community.
“Our men are already working to ensure that the cleric regains his freedom and apprehend those behind the abduction,” the PPRO added.
Religion Nigeria reports that Christian clerics have been the target of kidnappers of recent. Last Friday, three pastors were kidnapped in the Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The pastors were on their way to minister at a three-day crusade when the suspects intercepted their vehicle along the Ochadamu-Okele-Ejule Road.
In May, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Kanu Uche, was kidnapped and only released after N100m was paid as ransom to his captors.
Similarly, Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Uboh of St. Pius X Parish Ikot Abasi in the Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was kidnapped last month and ransom was reportedly paid before he regained freedom.
According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, over 12 clerics have been kidnapped and killed in 2022 including Reverend Father Joseph Bako of the St John Catholic Church, Kudenda in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Gunmen recently opened fire on worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, killed over 40 and injured many others.