Kidnapped nuns freed after Nigerian police operation

Six nuns have been released from captivity in Nigeria after being abducted last November.

The religious women – three sisters and three aspirants undergoing training before taking their vows in the order of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (EHJ) – were taken by men who escaped on a speedboat.

ReutersPope Francis added his prayers for six nuns kidnapped in Nigeria.

Their convent was asked for a $55,000 ransom. However, its mother superior said no money changed hands.

According to the Scottish Catholic Observer, Sr Agatha Osarekho said: 'The most important thing is that our Sisters are out. We are happy; to God be the glory!'

The women were freed on January 6 after a police operation, but their kidnappers escaped. They are said to be well and the three aspirants will be reunited with their families.

'We thank all the men and women of goodwill who worked and prayed tirelessly behind the scenes for the release of our Sisters,' Fr Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, of Uromi Diocese, said on Facebook. 'We thank the mother superior of the EHJ for her patience and strong will, and her Sisters for their solidarity during these days of trial.'

The abduction of clergy in parts of Nigeria has been on the increase as they are regarded as a useful source of income for criminals, though churches resist paying ransoms. 

The case of the abducted nuns received global attention and led to accusations the Nigerian government was not doing enough to recapture them.

The Nigerian Bishops' Conference wrote in December last year that 'agents of darkness continue to hold our people to ransom through kidnapping, armed robbery and other dehumanising activities'.

Pope Francis publicly prayed for them, saying, 'From the heart, I unite myself to the appeal of the bishops of Nigeria' for their liberation.