JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen this month kidnapped and killed a pastor’s wife in north-central Nigeria’s Kaduna state three days after suspected herdsmen killed a Baptist pastor in another part of the state, sources said.
Unaware that Esther Ishaku Katung had been killed after being kidnapped in Bagoma, 122 kilometers (75 miles) west of Kaduna City on Sept. 14, her family paid a 250,000 naira (US$690) ransom before discovering her body, said Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Her husband, Ishaku Katung of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) congregation in Bagoma, escaped but was wounded by gunfire when the herdsmen broke into their home on church premises at 11:30 p.m. as they slept, Pastor Hayab said.
“Information we got from some of the kidnapped victims who escaped from the herdsmen’s enclave shows that Esther Katung and two other victims had escaped from the herdsmen’s captivity, but she was recaptured by them,” Pastor Hayab told Morning Star News. “She attempted to escape with two others after they were kidnapped by the herdsmen; this infuriated the herdsmen, leading them to kill her. They broke her legs in order to prevent her from escaping and smashed her head too. This led to her death.”
The kidnappers dumped her corpse in the bush, he said.
“After they had killed her, they were still demanding the ransom without telling her family that they had killed her,” Pastor Hayab said. “It was only after the ransom was paid that it was found by her family that she had been killed by her abductors.”
Baptist Pastor Slain
In Jema’a County about 230 kilometers (142 miles) south of Kaduna City, suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen shot a Baptist pastor dead on Sept. 11, sources said.
Alhamdu Mangadus, pastor of Nasara Baptist Church in Asso, was killed while working on his farm at about 1 p.m., said Danladi Boyis Hassan of the ECWA church in the Ungwan Kadara area of Kaduna City.
Given the high level of killings and kidnappings by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in southern Kaduna in recent years, Christian leaders suspect herdsmen killed the pastor. Pastor Hassan, a native of the slain pastor’s village, visited the area after the killing and was told that the assailants were Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
“Pray along with the church and family as they mourn the barbaric act by Fulani terrorists,” Pastor Hassan told Morning Star News.
Pastor Hayab of the CAN also said Fulani herdsmen were behind the killing.
“He was shot dead on his farm, and the attackers injured another fellow from Tanda,” he said. “The corpse of the pastor was taken away by the Fulani herdsmen but was eventually recovered in the bush after a frantic search by our brethren in the area.”
Pastor Hayab said the killing of the pastor was one too many for Christians in violence-wracked Kaduna state.
“We are going back to the era of senseless killings. When will people be safe to go out and seek food to feed their families?” he said.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.