Authorities have confirmed that Italian priest Father Pier Luigi Maccalli was abducted from Bomanga, in the southern Makalondi district, on Monday evening. Some media reports suggest a nun was taken alongside Maccalli. It is not yet clear who is responsible for the abduction.
Reuters reports that Maccalli had been ‘working in Bomaga for 11 years as a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), a Roman Catholic missionary organization.’ Despite having been in the country for so long, the New York Times quotes a government spokesman as saying ‘authorities had not been aware the priest was in the country’s southwest near the Burkina Faso border.’
New24 carries a report from the Africa desk editor at the Italian foreign ministry, in which she says ‘as far as we know an armed group entered in his apartment, taking several objects, including his computer. It seems that they took the mission’s car and then they kidnapped the missionary.’
Maccalli has previously worked in Niger, where he ‘had promoted initiatives to encourage an end to the cultural practice of female genital mutilation, which sparked some local opposition.’
He is the second European to be abducted in Niger this year. German aid worker, Joerg Lange, was abducted while travelling with colleagues in western Niger. There have not been any public updates on this case.
The Associated Press also has news of the abduction of the mother of a national-deputy, Boulou Boukar, in Diffa, in the east of the country. The 70-year-old woman was abducted earlier this month by men on motorbikes, who later demanded a ransom of 20 million FCFA ($35,000). She has since been released.
- New York Times: Niger Says Italian Priest Kidnapped Near Burkina Faso Border
- News24: Niger says Italian priest kidnapped near Burkina Faso border
- Reuters: Italian priest kidnapped overnight near Niger’s southern border
- Associated Press: Niger says Italian priest kidnapped near Burkina Faso border
- La Croix International: Italian priest abducted by suspected jihadists in Niger
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