By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
The two Christians, Yusuf Peter, 60, and Abigail Peter, 15, were kidnapped on June 6 in central Abuja’s Housing Estate Gwarimpa, said their neighbor Paul Jongas.
“We heard gunshots, and then they were taken away in a car,” Jongas added. Their whereabouts remained unknown Sunday, he explained.
Jongas, who fled with his family from the kidnappings and killings of Christians in northeastern Nigeria, expressed concern that the violence had also reached the capital.
The attacks have been often linked to Islamic shooters, including terror groups and criminals.
“We don’t know yet whether this is a kidnapping for ransom or religious reasons,” Jongas acknowledged. “However they use in both cases the same tactics,” he added.
GUNMEN STORMING COMPLEX
Witnesses said the gunmen stormed the estate around 04:00 a.m. local time. A taxi driver reportedly noticed that several shooters had invaded the estate. Police initially denied that several residents were kidnapped, saying “the robbers” even left behind items such as phones and a laptop during a chase.
However, residents and family members confirmed the abductions. “The wife raised the alarm of her husband and daughter being kidnapped,” Jongas told Worthy News.
The kidnappings have added to a sense of insecurity among Christians in Nigeria, where thousands of believers have been kidnapped and killed in recent years. Some accused police of “cooperating with terrorists.”
Last week, suspected Muslim herdsmen killed more than 50 Christians, including children, on Pentecost Sunday in the town of Owo in the country’s southwestern Ondo State, authorities said.
Witnesses saw shooters opening fire on worshippers in the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier. Current President Muhammadu Buhari has come under pressure to improve security for Christians in a country where Muslims are a slight majority.
The former military ruler swept to a historic election victory in March 2015 when he became the first opposition candidate to win a Nigerian presidential poll.
He may face former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who can run in next year’s presidential election. Jonathan, a Christian who was president from 2010 to 2015, has not yet said if he intends to contest the election.
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