ICC Note: One pastor has died, while two return home safely after kidnappers released to ministers from Kaduna, Nigeria in a saga that began with their abduction during Easter week. Armed assailants raided a prayer meeting in the northern Nigeria town as church leaders prepared for Easter services on March 21, abducting three pastors and firing indiscriminately into the air. The captors demanded a 99 thousand dollar ransom for their release. According to this Morning Star News report, Rev. Iliya Anto was found dead in the bush after having been released. Pastors Emmanuel Dziggau and Yakubu Dzarma are reportedly doing fine, despite the trauma from their friend’s death. Anto’s cause of death is suspected to be related to health complications. While militant Islamist terror group Boko Haram has become notorious for similar kidnappings, they are not suspected in this incident because they normally kill pastors instead of releasing them and they have not claimed responsibility.
4/4/16 Kaduna, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Two of three pastors kidnapped in north-central Nigeria on March 21 have been released, while the third died after being left in the wild, sources said.
The Rev. Iliya Anto, initially said to have been released by the kidnappers because of ill health, was found dead in the bush 10 days after the abduction, said the Rev. Jibrailu Wobiya, general secretary of United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN). Details of his death remained unclear, but he was reportedly said to have died after the kidnappers left him in the wild. Anto was a pastor and vice president of the HEKAN in Kaduna city.
The other two pastors, the Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Dziggau, president of the church, and the Rev. Yakubu Dzarma, a retired church leader, were released on Wednesday night (March 30), Wobiya said.
Unidentified assailants kidnapped the three pastors along the Kaduna-Abuja Road as the Christian leaders were supervising work at the church’s prayer camp ground.
“I can now confirm the release of the two, Rev. Emmanuel Dziggau, the president of our church, and the Rev. Yakubu Dzarma, a retired pastor of our church,” Wobiya told Morning Star News. “Unfortunately, the third pastor, the Rev. Iliya Anto, died during the incident.”