The brutal murder of Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum by terrorists has been referred to as a dangerous environment for Christian leaders by the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Fr. John Mark was brutally murdered by his captors on Friday, July 15, 2022, the same day that he was kidnapped from the rectory of Christ the King Parish YadinGaru, Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Rev. John Joseph Hayab, CAN state chairman in Kaduna expressed sadness while reacting to the killing of one of the priests, Very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum, who until his death, was the CAN Chairman of Jema’a Local Government Area of the state, as well as coordinator of CAN in Southern Kaduna.
According to Rev. Hayab, “Kaduna State is a dangerous place to travel through and not safe, particularly for Christian leaders.”
Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, in a statement issued by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, confirmed the murder of Very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum.
The statement announced that Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas, who was also kidnapped by the terrorists, escaped from their abductors.
The statement explained, “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.”
It added, “However, it is with a deep sense of sorrow and pains that the bishop, clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Kafanchan announced the gruesome murder of Very Rev. Fr. John Mark Cheitnum.”
According to the statement titled, “Re: Kidnapped priests of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan”, the statement further explained that his corpse was later discovered decomposing on Tuesday, July 15, 2022.
It explained that until his demise, he was the CAN Chairman, Jama’a LGA as well as the Coordinating Chairman of CAN, Southern Kaduna, stressing that Rev. Fr. John Mark 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 local government area of Kaduna State.
The Diocese has, however, declared a two-day mourning for peaceful repose of his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.