On 21 March, assailants kidnapped three church leaders at gunpoint after storming the church prayer camp site in Kaduna, north-central Nigeria, where the clergymen were supervising preparations for an Easter church service. With the use of a mobile phone that was owned by one of the seized pastors, the kidnappers made an outgoing call in demand of ransom.
Rev Iliya Anto, thought to have been previously released by the kidnappers because of ill health, was found dead in the bush ten days after the abduction. Details of his death remain unclear. The other two pastors, Rev Dr Emmanuel Dziggau and Rev Yakubu Dzarma, were released on 30 March.
According to published reports, it appears that well-armed cattle rustlers in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, formerly reputed for incidences of rape and pillaging over the years, have recently turned to kidnapping. Police officials in northern Kaduna reportedly announced that they have set up a special task force to tackle the “change of tactics by the bandits.”
Sources: International Christian Concern, Morningstar News
- Thank the Lord for the release of the two pastors. Ask God to minister to Rev Anto’s grieving family, friends and congregation; may they be surrounded with the comforting presence and peace of our Lord Jesus.
- Pray the Lord will guide the investigations and strategies of the police as they try to solve the case and prevent further violence.
- Pray for the perpetrators and others who sympathise with their cause; may the Lord remove the hardness from their hearts and bring them to repentance.