06/13/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) — Father Christopher Itopa Onotu of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in the Okehi area of Kogi state in Nigeria did not show up on the morning of Pentecost Sunday for Mass and is alleged to have been kidnapped. Witnesses say that the attackers entered his home at around 9 pm on June 4, beat him, and forcibly removed him. There is still not any word on his status.
The kidnapping crisis in Nigeria is one of the most underreported crises that Christians face around the world. For many church leaders and priests living in Nigeria, the threat of kidnapping is an ever-present danger. This month’s kidnapping adds to the long list of Christian priests and pastors who have been kidnapped or killed by Boko Haram and Fulani militants.
The kidnapping happened the night before an attack at Saint Francis Catholic Church in neighboring Ondo State, where upwards of fifty people were killed and many more were injured.
Fulani militants and Boko Haram are the main persecutors of Christians in Nigeria. A poorer and heavily Muslim northern Nigeria is culturally and religiously disconnected from the wealthier and heavily Christian southern Nigeria. Northern Nigeria has typically had a heavy presence of these attacks, but more recently, the usually peaceful southern Nigeria is experiencing them as well.
Christians in Nigeria face one of the worst environments in the world in which to practice their faith. Still, they are still praising God in the midst of constant kidnappings and attacks. Please pray for the safe return of Father Onotu and for peace in all of Nigeria.
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