Tanzanian Melkiori Dominick Mahinini, 27, has been abducted in Nigeria, with the kidnappers demanding $70,000 (Sh170 million) in ransom.
The Major Seminarian who was sent to Nigeria for studies by the Africa Missionary Society comes from Kabanga Parish in Kigoma Region.
Kigoma Catholic Diocese Bishop Joseph Mlola said the Frater was abducted in the Minna Province in Nigeria alongside Priest Paul Sanogo from Burkina Faso.
“The two were abducted on August 3, 2023 by unknown people at the Saint Luke Gyedna Parish in the Minna Province,” said Bishop Mlola.
“The Frater has been in Nigeria for a missionary mission before proceeding for theological studies. We should pray to God that the two are rescued from any dangers and return in peace, light and complete freedom,” he added.
The Tanzania Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Benson Bana confirmed the incident, saying they are taking all the necessary measures to ensure the duo are safely freed.
He said incidents of abduction are common in Nigeria, noting that they are taking precautionary measures to ensure the duo are not hurt.
“After receiving reports of abduction, the Embassy has informed the government at home (Tanzania). We have also communicated the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria as required by diplomatic procedures,” he told The Citizen over the phone.
He said on August 3, a group of unknown people invaded Saint Luke Gyedna Parish, fired bullets into the air and kidnapped two of the four people present.
The former University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) don said they received information say, kidnappers’ demand 100 million naira in ransom which is equivalent to Sh325.1 million.
According to him, the demanded amount is equal to $70,000 or over Sh170 million.
“We are supposed to be careful with these people because they can inflate the ransom to over 500 million naira,” he cautioned.
Dr Bana said currently, they are cooperating with the Africa Missionary Society who have also already reported the matter to law enforcers in Nigeria.
The Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) president, Bishop Gervas Nyaisonga, said the Church has been disappointed with the cruel abduction incident.
“We insist on the importance of respecting the principles of human rights and stir on diplomatic efforts to ensure abducted people are unconditionally freed,” he told this paper, saying the Church is praying for the abductees to be rescued.
The Frater’s father, Mr Dominick Mahinini, has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation to collaborate with the Church to ensure his son is freed.
Furthermore, he said he received reports of his abduction on August 3, through the Parish Priest.
“I have nothing to do rather than praying to God for his life. I ask the government’s support over the matter,” he said at his Masanza home in Kabanga Ward, Kasulu District.
According to him, the Diocese should collaborate with the Tanzania government to ensure his son is freed safely.
He said his family has received abduction reports with shock and panic, something that has left them speechless, considering the fact that the incident has occurred far away.
Mr Mahinini said Melkiori is the fifth born in a family of nine children who was called to serve God, noting that as a parent he is obliged to provide support.
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