AFRICA - Peace and Release for the 10 hostages still in the hands of their kidnappers and for the whole Sahel
Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "At Christmas, families are used to gathering around a set table and celebrating together, but for some there will be an empty place in their hearts", says Father Pier Luigi Maccalli, speaking of the approaching Christmas celebrations. The missionary was lived in captivity for over two years in the Sahel and was released in 2020. "The strong communion of heart with all the innocent victims is certainly one of the gifts that the desert of captivity has left me - writes the priest of the Society for the African Missions. This Christmas 2022, my thoughts are with the 10 hostages in the Sahel who will spend another holiday away from home. I cannot help but express my solidarity with the families of all the hostages in the Sahel, and this year my prayer before the manger is for them: may there be peace and liberation for them and the Sahel".
The missionary specifically names the following kidnapping victims: The Romanian Iulian Ghergut, kidnapped in Burkina Faso on April 4, 2015; Australian Arthur Kennet Elliott, abducted in Burkina Faso on January 15, 2016; American Jeffrey Woodke, abducted in Niger on October 14, 2016; South African Christopher Bothma, abducted in Burkina Faso on September 23, 2018; Burkinabean Fidei Donum priest Joël Yougbaré, kidnapped in Burkina Faso on March 17, 2019; the Italian family Langone Giovanni and Rocco and Donatella, kidnapped in Mali on May 19, 2022; and the German missionary of the White Fathers, Hans-Joachim Lohre, kidnapped in Mali on November 20, 2022. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 22/12/2022)