By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
In a statement on Tuesday, the Catholic diocese Kafanchan announced with a deep sense of sorrow, the gruesome murder of Fr. John Mark Cheitnum, who was brutally killed by his kidnappers on 15 July.
Last week, Vatican News reported the abduction of Fr. Cheitnum, together with another priest, Fr. Donatus Cleophas
The two priests were kidnapped last Friday evening, shortly after they arrived at the parish rectory of Christ the King parish, Yadin Garu, Kaduna State.
The statement said that Fr. Cheitnum was murdered on the same day of his abduction and his already decomposing corpse was discovered on Tuesday. Fr. Cleophas was able to escape from his abductors and has returned home.
The Diocese has declared a two-day mourning period for the peaceful repose of soul of the priest and the souls of the faithful departed.
Until his death, Fr. Cheitnum was the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Jama’a Local Government area, as well as the coordinating Chairman of CAN,  Southern Kaduna.
He was also the Dean of Kwoi Deanery, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Kafanchan and the pastor of St. James Parish, Fori, Jama’a LGA.
Fr. Cheitnum’s burial is slated for 10 am on Thursday, 21 July at the Cathedral of St. Peter Kafanchan, Kaduna State.
The statement signed by the chancellor of the diocese, Fr. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, encourages the faithful to pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Cheitnum and for consolation for his immediate family.
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