Gunmen hack Father John Gbakaan to death, kidnap his brother
Father John Gbakaan, a Catholic priest, who is the dean of the newly established Lapai Deanery in the state of Niger, was killed by gunmen who have yet to be named.
Father John Gbakaan, who was also in charge of the Gulu Parish of St. Anthony in the state’s Lapai local government district, was killed along the Lambata-Lapai road.
This was confirmed on Sunday by a close colleague of the deceased and a priest in charge of St. Theresa Catholic Parish Madala, Father John Jatau.
Father Jatau told Channels TV that Father John Gbakaan traveled to Makurdi in Benue state on Thursday, along with his brother and another priest, where he went to see his mother.
Father Jatau noted that he and his brother had been assaulted by gunmen along the Lambata-Lapai road on their way back.
The incident occurred about 9 pm after Father Gbakaan had dropped the other priest at Suleja, he said.
The assailants were said to have descended with machetes upon the priest, hacking his body beyond recognition.
Father Jatau said that the priest’s body was found bound to a tree in a bush the next day, Saturday, after alarm had been raised by some vigilante members in the area.
Also discovered in the bush was the Toyota Venza car that the priest was riding in.
In the meantime, the brother of the deceased has been kidnapped and has yet to be identified.
According to Father Jatau, the gunmen made an appeal to the Catholic Diocese of Minna on Saturday, demanding the amount of thirty million Naira, but the ransom was later reduced to five million Naira in the course of negotiations.
Negotiations were said to be underway at the time of the filing of this article, while the body of the slain priest was deposited at the IBB Specialist Hospital mortuary in Minna.
However, a statement has yet to be released by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu, and the Niger Police Commissioner.
It was also not possible to contact Bishop Martin Ozuokwu of the Minna Catholic Church, His Lordship, by phone.