Bishop's wife who was abducted by gunmen is freed

Bishop Idris Ado Zubairu with his wife Saratu

A bishop's wife who was abducted by armed gunmen in northern Nigeria earlier this month has been released. 

Saratu Zubairu, wife of Idris Ado Zubairu, Bishop of Bari Diocese in Kano State, was kidnapped on 10 March. 

She was taken alongside a diocesan secretary, who has also been freed. 

Nigerian Primate Nicholas Okoh confirmed Zubairu's release during a service at the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, in Lokoja, Kogi state, on Friday. 

The two women were abducted during a raid on Gidan Mato in Bari, where the bishop and diocesan cathedral are situated. 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said that the town was looted during the raid, which occurred while the bishop was travelling south to Plateau state. 

CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said the women had been through a "shocking ordeal" as he welcomed their release.

The Christian organisation has warned that such abductions are "rife" across Nigeria.  Although various religious and ethnic groups have been targeted, CSW said there had been a "marked increase" in the abduction of church leaders, their families and lay Christians in the last two years. 

While some of those abducted have been held to ransom, others have been killed.

CSW said that survivors, both Muslim and Christian, had reported that those responsible were of Fulani ethnicity. 

Mr Thomas called for action from the Nigerian government to prevent further abductions.

"We remain deeply concerned by the growing trend of abductions for ransom spreading across Nigeria and continue to call on the government to do everything in its power to ensure adequate protection for vulnerable communities," he said.