Fulani Muslim raiders gunned down the pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Kaduna State, Nigeria, late last week and kidnapped his wife for ransom.
“The Fulani militants killed Reverend Amako Maraya,” a church leader of the Evangelical Church Winning All told International Christian Concern (ICC). “He is my pastor. Last Sunday before he was killed, he preached about forgiveness.”
The 48-year-old pastor had reportedly pleaded with the government to do more to protect the Christian community from ongoing attacks that have left dozens of people dead.
Ishaku Chinge, an elder in the church, said the gunmen raided the pastor’s house around 11;00 p.m. on Friday.
“Yesterday, they stormed his house, gunned him down and kidnapped his wife,” Chinge said on Saturday, adding that the gunmen had called that morning, demanding 3 million naira as ransom from the family.
The pastor’s 40-year-old widow with seven children, Grace Maraya, was released two days after her abduction, once the kidnappers had received 350,000 Naira ($426) as ransom. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she has received medication.
According to a local community leader, over the past two months, Fulani militants have regularly attacked the community in Damakasuwa, in southeastern Kaduna State, part of Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
Just this past week, ICC released its 2023 “Persecutors of the World” report, which described Nigeria as the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian.
Islamic terror groups such as Boko Haram and Fulani militants have waged a “20-year genocide against Christians in Nigeria,” the report declared, and as a result “Christian men, women, and children are brutally kidnapped, tortured, and killed every week in Nigeria.”
Nevertheless, while Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands of Christians, Fulani raiders operating in Nigeria’s Middle Belt “have killed more Christians in the past several years than Boko Haram and have displaced millions of Christian farmers,” the report noted.
“Once again, Nigeria’s Christian community is suffering at the hands of radical Fulani militants,” ICC president Jeff King noted. “And once again, rather than intervening, the Nigerian government continues to turn a blind eye to the violence, aiding and abetting the ongoing genocide.”
“No longer can this trend of violence be dismissed as a complicated, regional conflict over land rights,” King added. “The government’s inaction on the matter is inexcusable and the violence will only worsen unless the international community steps in.”