Accessibility links

Breaking News

Nigeria Christian Group Condemns Gruesome Murder of Priest, Church Attack


People line up to collect their permanent voters cards on Jan. 11, 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria, ahead of February's 2023 presidential elections. Authorities have been struggling to stem a wave of kidnappings and violence prior to the elections.

The Christian Association of Nigeria has condemned the killing of a Catholic priest in central Niger state Sunday and suggested Christians might need to take up arms to defend themselves.

Gunmen believed to be Islamist militants set fire to the priest's residence, burning him to death, and shot another priest who was fleeing the attack.

Separately on Sunday, police in northwest Katsina state say armed men attacked a church, abducting at least nine worshippers.

The national spokesperson of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Luminous Jannamike, condemned the attack on Monday and told VOA the association was disappointed in the security system.

He called on Nigerian authorities to find the perpetrators and prosecute them to prevent "a situation where citizens will be asked to take up arms."

Armed men Sunday burned the Reverend Isaac Achi to death in his home in central Niger state after failing to break in.

The attackers also shot another priest trying to flee the attack but he survived.

Jannamike spoke to VOA via phone.

"C.A.N is not happy with the attacks on clerics. And we ask the authorities to go after those behind this and bring them to book,” Jannamike said. “Christians in Nigeria have been quite accommodating, peaceful, cordial with people of other faiths."

The motive behind the attack is not yet clear but gunmen have frequently in the past attacked churches and killed priests especially in the country's north.

Niger state police command said they're investigating the killing and will make the perpetrators pay.

In a separate attack Sunday, gunmen in northwest Katsina state kidnapped seven women and two children from a Pentecostal church during services.

State police spokesman told VOA via phone that a rescue operation is underway.

"The pastor was beaten with a stick and he sustained fracture on his hand,” said Isa Gambo, spokesperson for Katsina State Police. "So far search parties are still making efforts, the police in collaboration with other security agencies, especially the Nigerian army and air force are making efforts with the view of rescuing the victims."

Nigerian authorities have been struggling to stem a wave of kidnappings for ransom just weeks ahead of general elections.

The country is also facing communal clashes over land between farmers and herders as well as attacks from Islamist militants. The violence, which outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to address when elected eight years ago, is one of the major issues ahead of the elections on February 25.

Recommended

XS
SM
MD
LG