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6/24/2024 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) — For the second time this month, unidentified Muslim extremists have kidnapped a church leader in Nigeria.

The gunmen abducted the Rev. Mikah Suleiman in the early hours of Saturday, June 22, while he was at his rectory. The Rev. Suleiman is the parish priest of St. Raymond Catholic Church in the Damba area of Gusau, Zamfara state.

“We humbly ask all members of the Church and all people of goodwill to earnestly pray for his swift and safe release,” said the Rev. Nuhu Iliya, acting chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.

Zamfara State Police Command Spokesperson Yazid Abubakar has confirmed reports of the abduction and stated that although nobody immediately reported the incident to police, the command has taken action by deploying a police tactical squad to pursue the kidnappers and secure the reverend’s safe return.

The trend of Islamic extremists abducting church leaders is a growing concern in Nigeria. Ransom demands are prevalent, and critics call the government’s response “slow” and “inadequate.” Former President Muhammadu Buhari banned ransom payments for such incidents. But that hasn’t stopped them from being made.

On July 9, Muslim gunmen kidnapped The Rev. Samuel Uche, prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria. Following his release days later, the Rev. Uche announced during a press conference that the church had paid a ransom of 100 million Nigerian Naira (roughly $670, or a year’s minimum wage earnings in Nigeria). He also mentioned that there was no intervention from the government, military, or police forces regarding his release.

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