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Nigeria: Three Christians killed, four clergymen kidnapped

For information about Orthodox Christianity in Nigeria, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from, see here.

“Clergyman Kidnapped, Christians Killed in Northern Nigeria,” Morning Star News, May 30, 2022:

ABUJANigeria (Morning Star News) – Abductions of Christian church leaders continued in northern Nigeria with the kidnapping of two Roman Catholic priests last week and two other clergymen earlier this month in Katsina state, sources said.

The kidnapping early on Wednesday (May 25) of priests Stephen Ojapah and Oliver Okpara, along with two parishioners from the rectory of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Gidan Maikambo, Kafur County, followed the abduction of an evangelical pastor three weeks earlier in the state, residents told Morning Star News.

Gunmen broke into the rectory after midnight, said the Rev. Chris Omotosho, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, in a statement.

“The parish priest and his assistant, the Rev. Oliver Okpara, and two boys in the house were kidnapped,” Omotosho said. “No information as to their whereabouts. Fr. Ojapah is a priest of my congregation, the Missionary Society of St. Paul, and a very close friend of mine. Please keep him, his assistant and the two boys kidnapped in your prayers.”

On May 8, the Rev. Matthew Moses of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was kidnapped, said James Saleh, coordinator of Evangelical Missionary Society of the ECWA.

“Another missionary, Matthew Moses, serving in Katsina state, northwest Nigeria, was kidnapped on Sunday, 8 May,” Saleh said in a statement. “Kindly pray for divine intervention for his release along with others.”

Gabriel Michael, a resident of Katsina state, told Morning Star News that persecution has become commonplace for Christians in the state.

“Katsina state is currently under the firm grip of Islamic terrorists,” Michael said in a text message. “They invade churches and Christian communities at will, and nothing has been done by the authorities to end these invasions.”

Muslim terrorists have taken over the areas of Kafur, Zango, Kurfi, Baure, Bindawa, Danja, Ingawa and Kankara, he said.

“Any Christian kidnapped in these areas can never be rescued,” he said. “Even local government areas like Katsina, Daura, Malumfashi, Dutsin-Ma, and Jibiya which many consider to be relatively safer, are dangerous zone for Christians in Katsina sate. Villages in these areas are Islamic terrorist enclaves.”

On May 19, a priest with the Anglican Church in Katsina, the Ven. Yohanna Haruna, was kidnapped from his church by armed terrorists, according to the general secretary of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

In Zaria, Kaduna state, a priest kidnapped in March was freed on May 3. The Rev. Felix Zakari Fidson of St. Ann’s Catholic Church had been taken away at gunpoint on March 24 from from Zangon Tama.

Killings in Bauchi State

In northeastern Nigeria’s Bauchi state, three Christians were killed in an attack in Tafawa Balewa County on May 9, sources said.

Ahmed Wakil, a spokesman for the Bauchi State Police Command, identified the victims as Samaila Bello, Kefas Sarki (Cephas Tserki, according to an area resident) and Paulina Alhamdu.

“We received a distress call on May 9 at about 21:30 hours that some armed with AK-47 rifles stormed the Num area of Sara village,” Wakil said. “They opened fire on members of the community causing the death of three persons, while two others, Gode Bulus and Zakka Mayo [Zaka Matthew, according an area resident] were injured.”…

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

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