A pastor, his daughter, and more than a dozen other worshippers were abducted while one person was killed after a team of gunmen attacked villages in the troubled Kaduna state recently.
The gunmen stormed a church choir practice and kidnapped 17 Christians the night of May 18, and the same night gunmen killed another worshipper and kidnapped two others at a Baptist church, members said.
In Dankande village, in the Dogon Dawa area of Birnin Gwari County 120 kilometers 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, suspected herdsmen numbering over 20 just surrounded the church and started shooting,” Ezekiel Ishaya said. “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 Rev. Nathaniel Waziri, chairman, of the ECWA Zaria District Church Council, confirmed in a press statement on Thursday (May 23) that the gunmen kidnapped the Rev. 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.
“It was in the midst of the confusion that I escaped from the attackers,” Ishaya said.
The Rev. Emmanuel Ibrahim, chairman of the Birnin Gwari chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), confirmed the assault and said Nasara Baptist church in Guguwa-Kwate village, in the Rigasa area of Igabi County 37 kilometers (22 miles) north of the city of Kaduna, was attacked the same night.
“One member was killed and two other members were kidnapped the same night by another group of Fulani herdsmen,” Pastor Ibrahim told Morning Star News, identifying the slain Christian as Obadiah Samson.