3 killed and 36 abducted in attack on churches in Nigeria

Kaduna State has been beset with violence and insecurity.

Attacks on two churches in Nigeria on Sunday have left three people dead.

Another 36 were abducted in the attack in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA), in southern Kaduna state.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the attacks were carried out by Fulani gunmen. 

The militan men were riding motorcycles and carrying AK-47s. 

They targeted St Moses Catholic Church in Roboh village as the Sunday service was underway. This was despite the church changing its service times to 7am because of the constant threat of attack.

Three worshippers identified as Peter Madaki, Ali Zamani and Elisha Ezekiel were killed in the attack. 

The second church to be targeted was Bege Baptist Church where 36 people, mostly women and children, were abducted. 

The militia men are demanding a ransom for their release. 

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said his prayers with all those killed or kidnapped.

"Every week the lives of more innocent Nigerians are lost across the country in terror attacks targeting houses of worship, homes and transportation, with many more either injured or abducted and extorted, yet both state and federal authorities continue to illustrate a lack of urgency in formulating and enacting coordinated and effective responses which prioritise the protection of vulnerable citizens, including religious leaders and congregations," he said. 

It is the second time that the Roboh community has been attacked this year after several villagers were abducted on 5 January.

The deadly violence over the weekend follows attacks during Sunday services on 5 June, when CSW reports that at least 32 people were killed in Ungwan Gamu, Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Maikori villages.

It is reported that in the attack on Maikori, the militia men were assisted by a white helicopter that opened fire on villagers as they tried to escape. 

In a separate attack on the same day, 32 people were killed in a terrorist attack on St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State. 

According to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Ayokunle, at least 10 clerics were abducted in the first five months of this year, two of whom were killed by their captors.

Mr Thomas is calling on the Nigerian government and international community to act.

"We appeal to the Nigerian government to become far more proactive in addressing this violence, holding those responsible to account, and ensuring that the armed forces are sufficiently resourced to combat the threats posed by these and other armed non-state actors," he said.

"The international community must also become far more proactive in ensuring that the Nigerian authorities receive sufficient assistance to bring an end to this horrific violence by non-state actors who pose and existential threat to this strategically important nation, and in holding the government to account wherever and whenever it fails to protect all of its citizens equally and effectively."