A Catholic priest in Nigeria was burned to death Sunday in a horrific attack underscoring the dire and deadly circumstances Christians face in some parts of the African country.
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The Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church was reportedly murdered in Kafin-Koro, Paikoro County, Niger state, after extremists set his living quarters on fire, Morning Star News reported.
Rev. Collins Omeh, an assistant priest, was also allegedly shot in the shoulder during the assault. Omeh was reportedly taken to the hospital after the inferno was set in the rectory.
The horrific incident unfolded around 3 a.m., with assailants purportedly first trying to enter the home. When this proved difficult, they turned to other means, sources told Morning Star News.
“The bandits reportedly attempted to gain entrance into the residence, but it seemed difficult, and they decided to set the house ablaze while the said Rev. Father was burned to death,” Wasiu Abiodun, spokesman of Niger State Command, said in a statement. “A police tactical team attached to Kafin-Koro Division were immediately drafted to the area.”
Tragically, though, Abiodun said those responsible had already “completed their evil acts and escaped” before authorities arrived on the scene.
Achi’s body was “found among the charred parish building” of the church, Catholic News Agency reported.
Alhaji Sani Bello Abubakar, governor of the state of Niger where the murder occurred, called the horrific incident “ungodly and inhumane” and reportedly implored officials to search for those responsible.
“This is a sad moment, for a priest to be killed in such a manner means that we are not all safe, these terrorists have lost it, and drastic action is needed to end this ongoing carnage,” Bello said.
Read more about this tragedy here.
The situation for Christians in Nigeria continues to be dire, with the persecution issue in the nation reaching a fever pitch. In November, another story of tragedy and terror emerged when militants reportedly kidnaped dozens of Christians.
Suspected Fulani herdsmen captured two groups of Christian workers in southwestern Nigeria on Nov. 24. One group of 23 people was on its way to a wedding and the other — a bus with 48 people — was traveling to a funeral, Morning Star News reported.
And as Faithwire previously reported, one of the most horrific persecution examples burst on the international scene last May after a Muslim mob reportedly fatally stoned Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 25-year-old Christian college student.
Yakubu’s horrific death reverberated throughout Nigeria and shocked religious freedom advocates. Yakubu, a Shehu Shagari College of Education student in Sokoto, Nigeria, was brutally murdered May 12, and the violent attack was purportedly filmed and shared on social media.
She was killed over comments made on WhatsApp, a messaging app.
Despite Christianity being vibrant in many parts of the country, the northern region has experienced consistent extremist attacks that seem to be worsening. In addition to the aforementioned incidents, other anti-Christian atrocities have recently unfolded in Nigeria.
A pastor was abducted, his wife was injured, and a Christian security guard was killed in a tragic September attack, purportedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen, members of a predominately Muslim group known to target Christians.
A separate Sept. 7 assault by suspected Fulani herdsmen also left three Christian women shot and injured. And a group of Christians — including a pastor’s son — were also kidnapped Sept. 4.
Also, as previously reported, a Christian woman was reportedly murdered in August while cleaning her church. Lyop Dalyop was purportedly sweeping and cleaning Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) on Aug. 27 in the Plateau state, when she was shot and killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Separately, in July, a Nigerian pastor and his sons were attacked in the Adamawa state, an area known for Islamic extremism. And an attack on a church on Pentecost Sunday in Nigeria in early June killed at least 50 people, with militants using guns and bombs.
These instances only cover a small portion of the horrors Christians have faced.
Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the seventh most dangerous place in the world to live as a Christian.
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