Suspected terrorists have murdered Reverend Father John Cheitnum, who was kidnaped alongside his colleague, Donatus Cleopas, on there way to a function in the Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, in a reaction, the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state has described the state a dangerous terrain for Christian leaders following the discovery of the decomposing remains of to the slain priest.
The Chairman of CAN in the state, Rev. John Hayab, expressed this while reacting to the killing of the priest on Tuesday.
Rev. Cheitnum was, until his death, the CAN Chairman of Jema’a Local Government Area of the state as well as coordinator of CAN in Southern Kaduna.
“Kaduna State a dangerous place to travel around and not safe for Christian leaders,” Hayab said.
He, however, said they were consoled that Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas, who was kidnapped with Rev. Fr. Cheitnum, escaped from his abductors.
The Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan confirmed the murder of Rev.Fr. Cheitnum on Tuesday.
This was contained in a statement by the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okolo.
The statement read, “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.
“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 YadinGaru, Lere L.G.A of Kaduna State, was brutally killed by his abductors on the same day of his abduction; Friday 15th July, 2022.
“Until his demise, he was the CAN Chairman, Jama’a LGA, as well as the Coordinating Chairman of CAN, Southern Kaduna. Fr. Cheitnum was the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, Director of Communications in the Diocese of Kafanchan and the Pastor of St. James Parish Fori, Jama’a LGA, Kaduna State.”
The statement added that his burial was slated for Thursday, July 21, 2022 at the Cathedral of St. Peter Kafanchan, Kaduna State, at 10am.
“As we solicit 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 refrain from taking the laws into their hands.
“The Diocese has declared 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,” it added.