By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ABUJA (Worthy News) – The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) says that suspected Islamic “terrorists,” including Fulani headmen, killed at least six pastors and kidnapped 27 Christians in Nigeria this year.
Among the 27 Christians abducted from January to date were six pastors, such as Pastor Moses Dikko Usman, who was kidnapped on July 25 in Kaduna state, the ECWA report said.
James Saleh, a coordinator of ECWA’s Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS), noted that among the six pastors slain was Reverend Ezra Shamaki, an ECWA missionary killed. He was reportedly killed on June 21 in the Kurmin Musa area of Kaduna state.
“Ask God to comfort the family of the late Rev. Ezra Shamaki, our missionary serving in Kurmin Musa DCC, who was shot dead by terrorists,” Saleh said in comments shared with Morning Star News agency. “The terrorists kidnapped his wife, and they are yet to make any contact.”
Mac Philips, another EMS coordinator, said that 15 other women and five men were also abducted in the June 21 attack by “armed terrorists.”
“At about 7 a.m., one of our missionaries was leading a prayer meeting when herdsmen stormed the village, killing and destroying anything in sight,” Philips said. “The armed terrorists stormed the prayer house, met them praying, and opened fire on the missionary.”
Though Shamaki was dead, one of the herdsmen shot him again with an AK-47 assault rifle, he added.
“The herdsmen then abducted all the women in the church and many other men and women in the community and left,” he said. “Continue to pray for God’s protection upon our missionaries who are constantly in the line of fire, yet they have remained courageous to continue serving Him in various mission fields.”
On July 5, “terrorists” killed Reverend Adamu Buba in Iburu, Kasuwan Magani, Kaduna state, Philips explained. Saleh, the ECWA coordinator, added that Pastor Buba leaves behind a wife and seven children. “[Apostle] Paul said in [the Biblical chapter] Romans that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God. As long as hell and heaven exist, the gospel must thrive”, Saleh stressed.
He said Pastor Nehemiah Ezekiel was killed in Unguwan Awallu of Kaduna state’s Kwassam area in an attack on the ECWA station on April 5. Philips recalled that pastors Isma Dogari, Bulus Bayi, and Yakubu Waziri were also killed for their faith this year.
“To preach the Gospel for us is to die, to be safe is to stop preaching the gospel,” Philips was quoted as telling Morning Star News. “It’s a choice we all have to make – for us; we choose the former. The gospel in Nigeria cannot be preached without casualties. Our lives are increasingly on the line, but nothing compares to the excellency of sharing the gospel to a dying world without Christ.”
“While we mourn daily for these tragedies, we remain resolute with our weapons of love and peace, knowing that the battle before us is a mopped-up operation – because of the resurrection, we have won,” Philips noted.
Two ECWA members in Kaduna state were also killed this year, one in Ungwan Busa and another in Ungwan Chiyaya, Saleh said.
Among those kidnapped were reportedly Pastor Ahmadu Maikudi and two other Christians abducted along with him.
They were abducted on June 16 in Gidan Isa Giwa, Zaria, Kaduna state, Saleh said. The wife of the Reverend Emmanuel Bako of the Kasuwan Magani DCC in Kaduna state was abducted on July 13.
On May 9, gunmen kidnapped the Reverend. Matthew Moses in Katsina state, northwest Nigeria, Saleh said.
The Reverends Mamuda Lakwadon, serving in the Indache area of Abaji, Abuja, was wounded during an attack by the armed Fulani herdsmen, Saleh added.
“Many of our mission fields across the region are increasingly facing threats of attacks from terrorist herders or bandits and kidnap syndicates who continue to terrorize residents,” he said. “As the security situation in the country continues to deteriorate, our missionaries are increasingly facing grave danger.”
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, Morning Star News commented.
“But some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report,” it recalled.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG reportedly said.
Christian leaders in Nigeria say they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt want to take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam there.
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List (WWL) report.
The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, the WWL said.
Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, the report concluded.
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