Nigerian Pastor Released By Boko Haram After Eight Months in Captivity

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Christians in Nigeria and West Africa have been subject to increased persecution over the last few years as Islamic militancy compounds with tribal conflicts and banditry which often target schools and churches for kidnapping, attacks, or slaughters.

While good news out of the region in regards to this conflict is scarce, Our Nigeria reported this week that after eight months of being held by Boko Haram terrorists, a Christian pastor has been released.

Rev. Polycarp Zongo of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) was kidnapped in October 2020 along with two other Christians and had been held captive ever since as abductors demanded a hefty ransom.

Such scenarios are all too common in Nigeria as terrorists and bandits alike demand hefty ransoms for laypeople like Zongo.

In a video released by his captors in November, the pastor begged his church and from the government of Nigeria’s Plateau State.

“On Monday, 19 October 2020, I was traveling to Gombe for a church conference when we encountered the caliphate’s armed men who captured me along the way, and right now I’m with them,” he said in the video.

“They too captured two Christian women who are also here with me. I’m appealing that you all do all that is possible to secure our release from captivity.”

According to Our Nigeria, Ambassador Ummu Kalthum Muhammad, the chairperson founder of the non-governmental organization Kalthum Foundation for Peace managed to coordinate Zongo’s release reportedly without exchanging a ransom.

“To the best of my knowledge, no ransom was paid to get the clergyman released. All I can say is that John Pofi Foundation encouraged and even pressurized KFP to get the reverend released because he was critically ill,” Bulama Mohammed, the executive director of the organization, told the outlet.

Just last month, 22 Christians were slaughtered by suspected jihadis in the Plateau region in two separate village attacks, and in April, 15 were killed in similar attacks.

The African church is in sore needs of our prayers, attention, and support. Praise the Lord that this pastor was released and restored to his family; sadly, there are many believers who will only be reunited with their loved ones on the other side.

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