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03/24/2020 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Saratu Zubairu, the wife of Bari Diocese Bishop Idris Ado Zubairu, and a diocesan secretary identified as Deborah were both released on Friday March 20 by their abductors. The two women were taken by gunmen on March 10, when the assailants had entered Bari village to loot and steal. Upon finding the two women, the gunmen forcefully took them and likely contacted their families for ransom.

Kidnappings for ransom in Nigeria have become very common, especially in Northern Nigeria. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), these abductions have increased for Church members and leaders over the past several years. The abductions are not limited to only Christians however. Muslims have also been targeted in these kind of kidnappings for ransom.

CSW says that despite religion, abductees from both sides say that those who take them are most often of Fulani background or at least speak the Fulbe language. This report coincides with reports that radicalized Fulani groups are attacking and killing farmers throughout the Middle Belt of Nigeria. These reports have been argued against by the Nigerian government and multiple Fulani organizations such as Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, who say that these attacks are perpetrated by bandits and criminals, not by one group of people. Yet victims of attacks almost always agree that they were attacked by Fulani who have more sophisticated weapons and who had recently entered the area with their cattle. The Nigerian government must do a better job at tracking the movements of these groups and stopping these types of attacks from taking place. Please pray that these two women would heal and remain safe.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].