By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
“They are being taken to the hospital for medical attention,” said the Diocese of Osun Anglican Communion in a statement monitored by Worthy News on Thursday. “Glory be to God,” added the Diocese, one of 14 provinces within the Church of Nigeria-Anglican Communion.
“Thank you, Jesus! Thanks to everyone who yielded to our call for prayer” for the bishop and his wife,” Diocese also said on social media. “They are safe at last! May God heal our land.”
Shooters kidnapped them on Sunday, June 12, after their car broke down on the Oyo-Ogbomoso Expressway in Nigeria’s southwestern Oyo State, witnesses and officials said.
In published remarks, the bishop’s chaplain, who evaded the kidnappers, was quoted as saying, “Before help could come, some armed men surrounded [the vehicle] and ordered them into the bush.”
The unidentified chaplain added: “I fell flat on my belly to hide myself while they marched my bishop and wife deep into the forest.”
It was not immediately clear Thursday whether a ransom had been paid for their release after kidnappers reportedly demanded 50 million Nigerian Naira ($120,000) for their release.
However, concerns remained Thursday about the whereabouts of three evangelists abducted by gunmen in Kogi State, in north-central Nigeria.
Police said evangelist Peter Adigidzi and pastors Mike Baba and Sunday Abah were kidnapped while on assignment for the Child Evangelical Fellowship (CEF) in the area.
CEF calls itself “a Bible-centered organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
State Commissioner of Police Edward Egbuka told the official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the three men were abducted in the town of Ejule in the state’s Ofu Local Government Area.
He said his forces “have taken drastic measures to track down the suspected abductors to rescue the clerics.”
The kidnappings are part of a broader trend in Nigeria where Christian leaders are increasingly among those targeted by kidnappers, mainly Islamic fighters and criminals known as “bandits.”
Earlier on Sunday, May 29, the head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Samuel Kanu Uche, and two clerics were kidnapped while traveling in Abia State, south-east Nigeria.
The men were released unharmed 24 hours later, Christians said. At the time of the kidnapping, the Christian Association of Nigeria said ten church clerics had already been abducted this year, and their captors killed two.
Christian charity Barnabas Fund, which supports Christians in the area, told Worthy News it had urged prayers for those being detained and an end to anti-Christian attacks.
It noted that the “wave of abductions and violence” has “wracked Nigeria, much of it targeted against Christians,” a country where Muslims are a slight majority.
Last year, Nigeria accounted for nearly 80 percent of Christian deaths worldwide, with more than 4,650 believers killed, according to advocacy group Open Doors.
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