By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The fighters, called “bandits” here, came Monday and started shooting sporadically to scare the people away, witnesses said. They reportedly broke into people’s houses and kidnapped the occupants.
One person, a motorcycle mechanic, escaped the kidnappers, but they went away with 36 residents in the community, Nigerian sources said.
Elsewhere in northwest Nigeria’s Sokoto state, Roman Catholic leaders said one of their parishioners, Tony Udemezue, was kidnapped at home at gunpoint on Monday.
Reverend Chris Omotosho, director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, said Udemezue called police before he was taken away but received no help from police officers. “Please let us keep him and his family in our prayers.”
There was no immediate reaction from the police.
The kidnappings follow the abduction and killing of the Reverend John Mark Cheitnum of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna state.
He was kidnapped on July 15 from the parish rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church in Yalding Garu, Lere County, and later killed. His body was found on July 19, Christians confirmed. Cheitnum served as a priest at St. James Parish in Fori, Jema’a Local Government Area, according to the diocese.
The Reverend Julius Kundi, bishop of Kafanchan Diocese, said while addressing mourners at Cheitnum’s funeral that Christians will remain steadfast despite such attacks.
Gunmen attacked another village in Kaduna state, Janbaba in Giwa County, on July 19, killing one Christian, said area resident Philip Umar in a text message to Christian news agency Morning Star News. “For two days, we could not sleep at night as the bandits visited us with horror,” he added.
The chairman of the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association (SKCLA), Pastor Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, condemned the attacks. “The rising cases of priests being kidnapped and in some cases killed by their abductors, even after receiving ransoms, is worrisome,” Kure said. “We pray God to expose these killers and rescue all Christians in the den of their kidnappers.”
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to advocacy group Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, Open Doors said.
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