Two priests kidnapped

0117sudan_auxiliary-bishop-daniel-adwok-of-khartoum.jpgBy John Pontifex
 FEARS are growing for the safety of two priests from Sudan who have been abducted.
Fr Joseph Makwey, in his 40s, and Fr Sylvester Mogga, in his mid-30s, were seized on Sunday (15th January) by men who smashed through the gates of their parish compound and broke down the presbytery door.
According to neighbours, the attackers arrived at St Josephine Bakhita’s Catholic Church in a huge truck filled with people.
Besides abducting the priests, they looted the property, taking electrical goods and other valuables including laptops and other computer equipment.
  Reporting the incident in Rabak town, south of Khartoum, Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the two men’s whereabouts remained unknown.
Speaking by telephone en route to the scene to assess the situation, Bishop Adwok said: “We are worried about the two priests.
“One of them – Fr Sylvester – although quite young is sick and is in need of medical help.”
The bishop said the police had been notified but investigations were at an early stage.
He added that it was as yet impossible to “speculate” on the identity of the kidnappers and their motives.
But, reporting an upsurge in kidnappings in the region, Bishop Adwok said he feared the men may be conscripted to fight amid reports of worsening internal conflicts involving Sudan and South Sudan.
He said: “It is not as if the law cannot be maintained – it seems that this abduction was something deliberate.
“The kidnappers would have known that these men were priests.”
The bishop, who lives in Kosti, a town close to Rabak on the other side of the White Nile, said that across Sudan militants were intimidating people originally from what is now South Sudan, pressuring them to leave.
Bishop Adwok said: “The abduction of young men has frightened practically everybody here.”
He criticised the Government of Sudan for appearing to brush off the kidnappings and saying that the abductors are “foreigners” who cannot be controlled.
The bishop added: “Innocent people are not there to be brutalised and the authorities must be called to account for what is going on.”
“It is not only in Kosti that this is happening. It is also taking place in Khartoum.”

Editor’s Notes

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in about 130 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.

While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.

For more information, contact John Pontifex, ACN UK Head of Press and Information 020 8661 5161