The wife an Anglican bishop and a church secretary have regained their freedom just over a week after they were kidnapped by gunmen in the Kano state of Nigeria.
The Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, announced last Friday the release of Saratu Zubairu, the wife of Bari Diocese Bishop Idris Ado Zubairu, and a diocesan secretary identified as Deborah.
According to ACNNTV, the television outlet of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Okoh made the announcement during a live broadcast of a consecration service honoring five new bishops and two archbishops at the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity in Kogi state.
The two women were reportedly abducted by gunmen on March 10 when they attacked and looted the Bari village of Gidan Mato, where the Anglican Cathedral and bishop’s court are located.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organization that advocates for Christians in over 20 countries, the alleged attack was said to have occurred at a time when Bishop Zubairu was traveling to Plateau state.
CSW reports that it is unclear whether a ransom was paid to secure the abducted women. It’s also unclear as to who abducted the women.
“CSW welcomes the release of Mrs. Saratu Zubairu and her colleague and wish both women a speedy recovery from this shocking ordeal,” CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.
The abduction and subsequent release of the two women from Bari come as kidnappings for ransom by armed militants have become all too common across Nigeria.
According to CSW, 2018 and 2019 saw a “marked increase” in the number of church leaders, family members and lay Christians targeted for abduction or murder. However, no religious or ethnic community has been immune to the kidnappings as many Muslims have been victimized as well.