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139 Clerics, Worshipers Killed, 394 Kidnapped In 18 Months – Reports

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At least 139 clerics and worshipers have been killed in various attacks across the country between January 1, 2021, and July 4, 2022.

Also, no fewer than 394 religious faithful were kidnapped during the period under review.

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The figures were collated from media reports of targeted attacks on churches and mosques.

A breakdown of the incidents showed that 53 Islamic clerics and worshipers were killed and 165 abducted while 229 Christians were kidnapped and 86 were murdered.

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The prominent attacks include the killing of a Catholic priest and three parishioners in Benue on March 30, 2021.

On April 13, a pastor was killed in an Abuja Church, while bandits reportedly murdered one person and abducted four others during an attack on a Church on April 25.

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Gunmen also kidnapped eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God In Kaduna on March 26.

Also, suspected bandits kidnapped 50 Muslims on a Maulud procession in Katsina on March 11.

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On May 10, gunmen stormed a Katsina Mosque and reportedly abducted 40 worshipers. In September, one person was killed and three parishioners were abducted from a Church in Kogi.

Furthermore, armed hoodlums also reportedly shot 17 people dead and abducted 18 others from a Mosque in Niger state on October 25.

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Similarly, bandits were said to have attacked a mosque in Kaduna where they abducted 24 persons on March 10, 2022.

A police inspector and two others were kidnapped from an Ogun mosque on April 3.

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On  June 4,  armed herdsmen struck Abia, abducted a pastor and his wife and also stabbed another person while 40 persons were reportedly killed during the attack on St Xavier Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo state, on June 6.

Also,  On  June 19,  gunmen were said to have attacked Catholic and Baptist churches, killed four and abducted 44, while 21 Muslim pilgrims were abducted in Sokoto on June 22.

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In the latest attacks, gunmen abducted two Catholic priests in Edo on July 3 while on July 4, suspected bandits kidnapped another Catholic priest in Kaduna.

The Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahi-l-Fatih Society, Onike Abdul-Azeez tasked the government to protect worship centres and also advised the religious faithful to be responsible for their security by deploying security cameras, metal detectors and other security measures.

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A former Imam, Apo legislative mosque, Abuja, Sheikh Nuru Khalid said the attacks on the worship centres were a pointer that nowhere was safe in the country.

“According to the scriptures, people who run from war saw worship centres as a place of refuge. If Nigeria now have the various places of worship being attacked, then we are all in danger,” he noted.

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In his reaction, the Christian Association of Nigeria spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, stated, “The church is helpless, and only praying to God that whoever succeeds President Buhari will not continue what he is doing and that is the more reason why we are against the Muslim-Muslim ticket; they are in charge of the security and political thugs.”

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A security expert, Mike Ejiofor said the target on clergymen was unfortunate, especially since the motive was to either generate money or to incite members of the religious groups against the government, and gain global relevance.

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He called on the government to, not just fund security agencies, but also monitor and ensure they are capable of providing security.

Speaking in the same tone, Mr Patrick Agbambu said that citizens and organizations were responsible for their own security and safety, while security provided by government agencies was secondary.

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