Details have emerged of the circumstances surrounding the death of a pastor’s wife who was abducted by armed assailants from her home in Kaduna state, central Nigeria on 14 September.
Mrs Esther Katung, whose husband is the minister in charge of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Prayer House in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna state, was seized during an attack by armed men of Fulani ethnicity at around 11.45pm. Mrs Katung’s husband Rev Ishiaku Katung sustained injuries during the attack.
Mrs Katung’s captors initially demanded N5000000 ($24,175) for her release. They later agreed to a payment of N400000 ($1,935). However, released abductees who had been held with her confirmed that Mrs Katung, who was pregnant, had died after suffering a severe beating the day before the ransom was received.
The abduction and murder of Mrs Katung is part of a spate of kidnappings for ransom which have occurred across Nigeria. In Kaduna state, church leaders and their families are particularly targeted. Several have been seized from their homes or church compounds by well-armed assailants reportedly of Fulani ethnicity.
In the south of the country, three Catholic priests from the Enugu Diocese were killed within a five month period following abduction or attempted abduction by Fulani assailants.
Elsewhere, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video on 22 September depicting the execution of two Christian aid workers. The group linked the executions to both the faith and the state of origin of their victims.
Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Assist News Service
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