One of the two Catholic priests who were kidnapped in Kaduna State, Rev. Father John Mark Cheitnum, has been discovered dead.
On Friday, July 15, 2022, two priests—Fr. John Mark and Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleopa—were abducted from Christ the King’s Catholic Church in the state’s Lere Local Government Area.
On Tuesday, July 19, it was reported that security personnel working to free the priests discovered Fr. John Mark’s remains at a farm in a nearby village.
Reverend Father Emmanuel Okolo, the chancellor of the Kafanchan Catholic Diocese, confirmed the tragic development in a statement on Tuesday, July 19. He said that while Fr. John Mark was brutally murdered, Rev. Donatus Cleopas managed to escape his captors.
“Sequel to the announcement of the two kidnapped priests from our diocese, we wish to announce that Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas escaped from his abductors and has reunited with us,” the statement read.
“However, it is with a 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,”
“Fr. John Mark who was abducted from the rectory of Christ the King Parish Yadin Garu, Lere LGA of Kaduna State, was brutally killed by his abductors on the same day of his abduction, Friday 15th July, 2022. His corpse was later discovered already decomposing on Tuesday 19th July, 2022.
“Until his demise he was the CAN Chairman, Jama’a LGA, as well as the Coordinating Chairman of CAN, Southern Kaduna.
“Fr. was the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, Director of Communications in the Diocese of Kafanchan and the Pastor of St. Hames Parish Fori, Jama’a LGA, Kaduna State.
“Burial is slated for Thursday, 21st July 2022 at the Catheral of St. Peter Kafanchan, Kaduna State. Time:10am.
“As we solicit for prayers for the repose of our dear brother Priest and God’s consolation on his immediate family, we wish to humbly call on all and sundry to refarin from taking the laws into their hands.
“The Diocese has decelared a two day mourning for peaceful repose of his soul and may his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.”