53 Christians attending wedding, funeral kidnapped

Suspected Fulani herdsmen in southwestern Nigeria last week kidnapped Christian workers taking a bus to a wedding, while another group of Christians was kidnapped en route to a funeral in the same state.

A relative of one of 48 Christians who were kidnapped off a Coaster Bus going from Ondo state to attend the funeral in Edo state on Nov. 24 said her cousin escaped because she was beaten and left for dead.

“My cousin was beaten almost to the point of death because she couldn’t walk fast,” Judith Akande told Morning Star News in a text message. “They left her thinking she was dead. She later got revived and was wandering in the bush until a man found her and took her to a pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church.”

Four other captives also escaped, and her cousin received medical treatment, she said.

“Her daughter is among 43 others who are still held hostage,” Akande said. “Please join me in prayer for their release from their captors, who are believed to be herdsmen.”

Also on Nov. 24, suspected herdsmen in Edo state kidnapped 23 workers from Peace House, a Christian ministry based in Gboko, Benue state, off a Coaster Bus as they were in transit to the wedding of the organization president’s son.

As they traveled from Benue state to Ilorin, Kwara state, at about 4 p.m. they were kidnapped near Ibillo town, Edo state, according to Chidi Nwabuzor, spokesman for the Edo State Command, who said police and local searchers found and rescued nine of the captives from the wilderness. Nwabuzor added that the bus passengers were kidnapped while on the Lagos-Abuja Road in the Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo state.

The next day, Friday (Nov. 25), the searchers found five more of the abducted passengers in the wilderness, bringing the total recovered to 14, he said.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

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