At Least 60 Christians Kidnapped, One Dead After Armed Gunman Storm Nigerian Church Service

A Nigerian Army Soldier armed with a 5.45mm AK-74 assault rifle provides security as US Marine Corps (USMC) Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC), move into position around the runway at Roberts International Airport, Liberia, during Joint Task Force (JTF) Liberia.

Dozens of Christians have been kidnapped and one shot and killed after armed bandits stormed a church service in the Kaduna state of Nigeria on October 31.

Armed banditry and Islamic militancy have both ravaged the Christian community in Nigeria, where despite roughly half of the country identifying as Christian, the government is often accused of not taking their plight seriously enough.

Meanwhile, kidnappings have become a commonplace criminal enterprise in recent years as bandits demand hefty ransom for the safe return of their victims.

The Epoch Times reports that the attack was made on Emmanuel Baptist Church, in Kakau Daji in southern Kaduna, which is roughly 50 miles away from Kaduna City.

Rev. Joseph Hayab told the outlet that the attack has forced Christian clerics to go into hiding.

“The Baptist church is the worst-hit church in this state,” he said.

Open Doors USA notes that this is just the latest in a long string of such incidents, which often target Christian churches and schools.

“Christians are frequently the victims of these attacks,” the advocacy group explains. “Often they are targeted specifically because of their faith; at other times, they are simply an easy target for violence. It’s not clear if this recent attack was religiously motivated, though observers report that armed bandit groups are at least to some extent influenced by the Islamic extremists Boko Haram.”

The attack was made worse by the fact that the state was experiencing telecom interruptions aimed at thwarting banditry that made the Christians unable to call for help.

Nigeria is ranked ninth on Open Door’s World Watch List of the most difficult nations in the world for Christians to live.

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