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Italian Catholic Priest Kidnapped in Niger

Father Pierluigi Maccalli of the Society of African Missions (SMA) apparently roused the ire of his captors by organizing “meetings against local practices like circumcision and female genital mutilation.” Please pray that Father Pierluigi is still alive and will be safely returned. Jihadist groups such as those in Burkina Faso who likely kidnapped Father Pierluigi often seize hostages in order to demand money from their home governments in exchange for their return; this presents those governments with the moral dilemma of either financing terror groups or leaving the kidnapped person in the hands of those who abducted him. Please pray that Father Pierluigi be returned outright, without demands for money or anything else.

“Italian Priest Kidnapped in Niger,” This Day, September 18, 2018:

Italian Priest Kidnapped in Nigerian Italian Catholic priest who was working as a missionary in Niger Republic has been kidnapped, a Vatican news agency reported on Tuesday.

Father Pierluigi Maccalli of the Society of African Missions (SMA) was abducted overnight, Agenzia Fides reported, quoting another Catholic priest based in Niger, Father Mauro Armanino.

Maccalli organised meetings against local practices like circumcision and female genital mutilation, and this “may be one of the reasons for the kidnapping, according to local sources,’’ Fides said.

A Niger government spokesman, Abdourahamane Zakaria, confirmed the kidnapping of an Italian near the border with Burkina Faso.

The Niger Defence Ministry added that the abductee was a priest….

In a second report, Fides said it heard from unnamed SMA sources that the priest was “probably taken across the border’’ to Burkina Faso where jihadist groups have set up bases.

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