Less than a week after Fulani militants abducted six teenagers from a Christian school, yet another Islamist attack has struck at the heart of Nigeria’s Christian community.
A Baptist woman is dead and four others are missing after hardline Islamists set upon the Godiya Baptist Church in Ungwan Barau village, Kaduna state, early last week.
The female victim, Ezra Haruna, was killed, while four others — including the pastor’s wife, Jummai Ido — were kidnapped.
“Three others kidnapped also during the invasion are Luka Auta, Sale Auta [brothers] and Yakubu Audu,” church member Joseph Umarau told Morning Star News.
According to residents, the heavily armed militants stormed into the community, firing indiscriminately at local houses and causing people to flee into the bush.
The region has continued to endure vicious and terrifying assaults from Islamic fighters in recent years — an issue that Faithwire has reported on extensively.
“It is terrible to see continued kidnappings and attacks on Christian communities throughout Nigeria, but especially in Kaduna State,” International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, told Faithwire. “The government’s lack of interest in this terrible situation will only increase these types of attacks.”
Johnson added that “the impunity with which these groups have been able to kidnap people for ransom is causing a chaotic and uncertain environment for many working in the Church.”
“This attack on another school is especially troubling,” he said. “The kidnapping of schoolgirls has become all too common in Nigeria.”
While Boko Haram has become synonymous with terror, violence and kidnapping in the country, the precise location of the incidents in the Middle Belt has caused many experts to point the finger at herdsmen.
Boko Haram does, however, continue to threaten the safety and security of Christian communities across the country. Still, the Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, continues to flounder in its efforts to counter the attacks.
“Boko Haram has seen a resurgence despite continued military actions,” ICC added in a report, “and the militant crisis throughout the Middle Belt of Nigeria has been continually ignored.”
According to a CIA factsheet, Boko Haram aims to “replace the Nigerian Government with an Islamic state under strict sharia and “establish an Islamic caliphate across Africa.” The group has “killed tens of thousands of Nigerians,” over the past decade, the CIA noted — many of whom have been Christians.
In 2014, the group famously abducted some 276 schoolgirls from the Christian-majority town of Chibok. Then, in February of last year, the militants took 110 girls from the nearby town of Dapchi. The one girl who remains in captivity, Leah Sharibu, is reportedly being held because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith.
Faithwire has reached out to ICC for more up-to-date information on the current situation in this heavily persecuted region.