Armed Gunmen Abduct 19 Christians, Kill One in Nigeria Church Attacks

Suspected Fulani herdsmen stormed a church choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians in north-central Nigeria the night of May 18, and the same night gunmen killed a Christian and kidnapped two others at a Baptist church, sources said.

Each attack took place in Kaduna state, where assaults on Christians with impunity have recently ramped up in the increasingly lawless country.

In Dankande village, in the Dogon Dawa area of Birnin Gwari County 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the city of Kaduna, the gunmen attacked Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) after midnight, at 12:30 a.m. on May 19, as a combined choir made up of members of two churches was at a 9 p.m.-to-1 a.m. rehearsal, one of the choir members said.

“As we were in the church, Fulani herdsmen numbering over 20 just surrounded the church and started shooting,” Ezekiel Ishaya told Morning Star News. “Everybody was terrified, but there was no way we could run because they had already surrounded the church. They were asking for the pastor’s house, and they threatened to shoot us if we don’t show them the house. Some of them went to the pastor’s house while others kept watch over us.”

The Nathaniel Waziri, chairman, of the ECWA Zaria District Church Council, confirmed in a press statement on Thursday (May 23) that the gunmen kidnapped Zakariya Ido, his daughter and 15 other church members, including the son of the pastor of an Assemblies of God Church.

“The gunmen came and asked everyone in the church to surrender phones and thereafter demanded the whereabout of the pastor,” he said. “After threatening the choristers, they became afraid and showed them the pastor’s house.”

Ishaya said besides the ECWA pastor and his daughter, 10 females and five males were abducted.

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SOURCE: Christian News Network; Morning Star News