Nigerian Bishop Targeted By Gang for Second Time
By Dan Wooding
7/26/07 Nigeria (ANS) — The family of Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican Bishop of Jos in Plateau State , Nigeria was attacked in their home on Tuesday, July 14, 2007 by a gang armed with hammers, axes and diggers. This is the second time the family has been targeted, as the gang had previously attacked them while the bishop was visiting the UK last year.
This news comes from the UK-based human rights group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) — www.csw.org.uk.
A CSW spokesperson told ANS, Early in 2006, the gang of armed men broke into the bishop’s residence in Jos in search of the bishop. When they failed to find him, they subjected his wife Gloria and two of their sons to a horrendous attack from which the family had only recently fully recovered. One son, Ringi, was beaten unconscious and Mrs. Kwashis head injuries were so severe that she was blinded. She has subsequently undergone treatment in the US which has fully restored her sight.
At 2am on Tuesday, the men proceeded to break into the familys house for a second time. While Mrs. Kwashi was not injured this time, she has been traumatised by the return of the men who previously subjected her to appalling mistreatment. Ringi, who had just arrived home for his school holidays, was once again severely assaulted. X-rays have since shown that he suffered no serious harm.
Bishop Kwashi was taken into the backyard, where the assailants told him that if he gave them a sufficient amount of money, then not only would they spare his life, but they would also reveal the mastermind behind both attacks. When the bishop informed them he possessed no such funds, they took him back into the house in order to kill him in front of the family. Once in the house, Bishop Kwashi knelt to pray in preparation for death. The gang looted the house and then left, leaving the bishop alive where he knelt.
The newly elected governor of Plateau State recently visited the family and expressed his determination to solve this case; however no arrests have been made to date.
Commenting on the attack, Bishop Kwashi said: At the moment, I am not discouraged, but this is hard for Gloria as this is the second time she has been through this ordeal. I am not moved since I know there is nothing I have done. I am continuing on with my work, as I have decided that preaching the gospel is worth living for and it is worth dying for.
Christian Solidarity Worldwides Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, said: This family has now suffered twice at the hands of the same gang, yet they show an amazing courage. Despite reassurances from the governor of the state, it is extremely worrying that someone is at large who remains determined to threaten the bishop and is prepared to go to elaborate lengths to do so. We urge the authorities in Jos to do all they can to bring the perpetrators to justice before more suffering is inflicted on this family.
For more information, please contact Penny Hollings, Campaigns and Media Manager at Christian Solidarity Worldwide by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.csw.org.uk.
CSW is a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.