Details have emerged of the circumstances surrounding the death of a pastor’s wife who was abducted by armed assailants from her home in Kaduna state, central Nigeria, on 14 September.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports Mrs Esther Katung, whose husband is the minister in charge of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Prayer House in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna state, was seized during an attack by armed men of Fulani ethnicity at around 11.45pm on 14 September. Mrs Katung’s husband Rev Ishiaku Katung sustained injuries during the attack.
Mrs Katung’s captors initially demanded N5000000 (around US$ 13850.00) for her release. They later agreed to a payment of N400000 (around US$1105.00). However, released abductees who had been held with her confirmed that Mrs Katung, who was pregnant, had died after suffering a severe beating the day before the ransom was received.
The abduction and murder of Mrs Katung is part a spate of kidnappings for ransom that have increased across Nigeria. In Kaduna state, church leaders and their families are particularly targeted. Several have been seized from their homes or church compounds by well-armed assailants reportedly of Fulani ethnicity. In the south of the country, three Catholic priests from the Enugu Diocese were killed within a five month period following abduction or attempted abduction by Fulani assailants.
CSW stated non-Christian communities in northwest Nigeria are also suffering kidnappings, murder and extortion by armed gangs as a proliferation of weapons contributes towards a seemingly relentless rise in lawlessness. According to the UNHCR, escalating violence in Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states has caused a new humanitarian emergency in neighbouring Niger Republic, as over 40,000 people have crossed the border to escape the violence within the last 10 months.
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SOURCE: Assist News