Christian Leadership Becomes Common Target for Kidnappers in Nigeria

03/29/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The world was rocked by the news of almost 300 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014. Unfortunately, kidnappings are still commonplace in Nigeria, not only with Boko Haram, but also amongst the Fulani militants. Recently, a pastor and a priest were kidnapped by gunmen in Nasarawa and Kaduna.

In Nasarawa state, Reverend Emmanuel Haruna went outside of his home at night to find better cell service for a phone call. His family inside heard a gunshot fired into the air and the pastor yelling, “Help me, help me, they want to kill me.” By the time the family made it outside, the kidnappers had already vanished. Fulani extremists are suspected to be responsible for the kidnapping.

In Kaduna state, a Catholic priest, Fr. John Shekwolo, was also kidnapped. Little is known about the situation except that the assailants broke into his home to kidnap him.

Earlier in March, Fr. Clement Ugwu, another Catholic priest, was kidnapped from his parish in Enugu state. The kidnappers shot him in the leg before taking him and stole money from his account right before his murder.

As these kidnappings demonstrate, the security of Christians in Nigeria, especially in the North and Middle Belt regions, is in dire straits. The governor of Nasarawa, Tanko Al-Makura, has requested the Nigerian army to put a stop to these commonplace kidnappings. He noted that the kidnappers have strong weapons, are funded well, and have camps in remote, hidden locations. Eliminating the threat will be challenging, but the government needs to stop the rising wave of violence.

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