Pastor killed after being abducted from home in Nigeria: 'Major loss to the body of Christ'
ABUJA, Nigeria — A church pastor in northeast Nigeria was slain last Thursday, and anti-Christian violence continued to grow in the southern part of the country with the killing of two Christians in Delta state, sources said.
In northeast Nigeria, Pastor Jerry Hinjari of Christ Nation International was abducted from his home in Yola, Adamawa, state around midnight on Wednesday, and his body was found on a roadside in the city the next day. The assailants were unknown, though Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) members active in the region were suspected.
“Pastor Jerry Hinjari was kidnapped on Jan. 25, and his remains were discovered the following day,” Yahaya Nguroje, spokesman for the Adamawa State Police Command, said in a statement. “The commissioner of police, Sikiru Akande, has ordered an investigation to unravel those behind the dastardly act. We assure the good people of the state that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.”
Several area Christians notified Morning Star News of the death in text messages. Resident Elijah Sambo said Pastor Hinjari’s death left the Yola Christian community in shock.
“He was passionate about the work of God, a philanthropist and humanitarian who was well known for his diverse service to God and to humanity,” Sambo said.
Pastor Chingtok Ishaku, a ministry colleague, prayed for strength.
“These are perilous times,” Pastor Ishaku said. “They took Pastor Jerry Hinjari and by wicked hands killed him. Lord, we ask that you answer by Yourself and for us, send comfort and strength especially for his family.”
Trixyl Golfa said Pastor Hinjari’s influence was widespread.
“The killing of apostle Jerry Hinjari, is too heavy a pain to bear,” Golfa said. “His demise is a major loss to the body of Christ in the northeast region of Nigeria. His murder came to us all as a shock. He fought a good fight, leaving behind many disciples.”
Area resident Paul Agudasi called for prayer for “God to expose all the evil terrorists behind his assassination,” with resident Wisdom Bassey adding, “Apostle Jerry Hinjari was gruesomely murdered in the hands of wicked and unreasonable men who have no faith. It’s a sad and painful one, because the body of Christ needs his fire, message, love and contributions now more than ever.”
Bassey prayed for the repentance of the killers.
“May his killers come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior like Saul of Tarsus,” he said. “And may God’s true servants be protected from wicked and unreasonable men and women all over the world.”
In Nigeria’s Delta region, Fulani herdsmen killed two Christians last week and wounded and kidnapped others, area residents said.
In Toru-Angiama village, Patani county in Delta state, police said assailants on Jan. 23 killed two Christians, shot and wounded another and kidnapped several others.
“We’ve recovered two corpses from the area, and one other victim is in the hospital,” Bright Edafe, spokesperson of the Delta State Police Command, told Morning Star News. “Efforts are on to rescue those captured by the terrorists. We are also carrying out investigation to determine those behind the attack.”
Area residents described the assailants as Fulani herdsmen and the victims as a father and son, in text messages to Morning Star News.
Andrew Ekiyor, an area Christian leader, said those shot to death by herdsmen were one Mr. Egbejule and his son.
“Both were attacked as they were working on their farm,” Ekiyor said. “The herdsmen not only killed the two Christians but also pushed their cattle herds on the farms of the Christian victims, resulting in the destruction of the crops on the farm.”
The person wounded escaped and notified others in the community of the attack, he said.
“He was taken to the hospital, where he’s currently being treated for gunshot wounds,” he said. “The wounded escapee also disclosed that the herdsmen after attacking them succeeded in capturing some of our Christian villagers, who are now being held captive.”
Malati Wariebi, another resident, said, “Fulani herdsmen have attacked Toru-Agiama, a Christian village, killing a man and his son,” while Esharhire Gomet, confirmed that another Christian was shot and wounded.
“This is in addition to several other Christians who were kidnapped by the herdsmen,” Gomet said. “The attack occurred at about 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 23.”
Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith in 2022, with 5,014, according to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List (WWL) report. It also led the world in Christians abducted (4,726), sexually assaulted or harassed, forcibly married or physically or mentally abused, and it had the most homes and businesses attacked for faith-based reasons. As in the previous year, Nigeria had the second most church attacks and internally displaced people.
In the 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to sixth place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 7 the previous year.
“Militants from the Fulani, Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others conduct raids on Christian communities, killing, maiming, raping and kidnapping for ransom or sexual slavery,” the WWL report noted. “This year has also seen this violence spill over into the Christian-majority south of the nation. … Nigeria’s government continues to deny this is religious persecution, so violations of Christians’ rights are carried out with impunity.”
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.
This article was originally published by Morning Star News.
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