A Christian has died and at least 60 others are missing after a group of bandits broke into a church in the state of Kaduna, Nigeria last Sunday.
The UK Open Doors The ministry reports that gunmen entered Emmanuel Baptist’s church in the Kakau Daji area. To make matters worse, the telephone system was shut down at the time, preventing any calls for help from outside.
“This kidnapping is a shocking example of the audacity of so-called bandits and impunity that is increasing, seemingly limitless in Nigeria,” says Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors’ work in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The government is severely disappointing its citizens in this matter and continuing lawlessness is creating an ideal breeding ground for extremism,” he added. “We ask the International Body of Christ to remain in fervent prayer for the release of the church members, and we pray that the Lord will use this situation to bring about a change in this situation.”
Government officials say security measures have improved; however, Reverend Joseph Haya, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), says it has gotten worse.
“We are seriously worried now”, explained the reverend. “The truth about shutting down the telecommunications network is that the people who are making policies are not fair to the citizens. You will agree with me that the government is trial and error, and that hasn’t worked to curb the insecurity in the state. “
The bandits allegedly told the victim’s family to pay a higher ransom due to the extra efforts made to reach the relatives.
“The kidnapped faithful of Emmanuel Baptist Church would have screamed on Sunday to facilitate their rescue and to let people know that they were in danger, but they could not scream,” Haya added. “So the shutdown of the telecommunications network even helped the bandits more.”
CBN News previously reported that the alarming increase in kidnappings has forced more than a dozen schools in Kaduna, mostly Christian institutions, to close.
The Kaduna State Schools Quality Assurance Authority ordered closure after 121 students were kidnapped in July by armed bandits at Damish’s Bethel Baptist High School.
A group of gunmen broke into the school in Damishi City, firing sporadically as they kidnapped dozens of students, police said.
It was the fourth kidnapping of students in Kaduna state in the past six months. There have been seven mass kidnappings of students in Nigeria this year.
International Christian concern, a guard dog for persecution, reports that these large-scale kidnappings were originally thought to have been carried out by loosely organized bandits. But recently, Kaduna state governor El Rufai informed the public that these ransoms were being used to fund Boko Haram and their extremist program.