Fr. Sam Okwuidegbe, a Jesuit priest and director of a local spirituality center, shared his story earlier this week on the website of the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar, recalling that his abduction in April 2016 took place while he was on his way to a retreat in Onitsha, in the state of Anambra.
“On looking up I saw masked men with AK47 rifles shooting. I was so scared. I also stopped my car abruptly and began to reverse, but as I was trying to do that, a man suddenly appeared … and said, ‘If you don’t get out of the car I’ll shoot you,’” Okwuidegbe said of being stopped on the highway.
He was able to identify the kidnappers as Fulani herdsmen, an Islamic radical group that has killed thousands of people in Nigeria, including many Christians, in the past couple of decades.
Okwuidegbe was taken with two other men on a perilous journey into the forest.
“I was so shaken, and began to ask myself, is this happening to me? What am I doing in this forest? What am I doing here? I felt extremely cold and in my confusion … I’d mutter to myself, this can’t be happening, God. This can’t be happening,” he recalled.
The priest and the other men were stripped of all their belongings and questioned. Due to the trauma of the experience, he was unable to recall anyone’s phone number to call to negotiate his release and pay off the terrorists.
“That triggered a series of beatings … they huddled me up, hands and feet tied to the back with a rope like a goat before a kill. They removed my cassock, then my shirt, threw me into the dirt on the ground, and began to beat me with the back of their guns, they’d kick me hard on my sides, slap across my face, push and pull me hard across the ground … one of them said ‘We are going to burn you alive!’” Okwuidegbe described.
Throughout the ordeal, the priest said that he prayed to God in silence, though he became resigned that he was about to die.
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SOURCE: Christian Post