Nigeria: One Christian pastor killed and two released after kidnapping at church camp

Two of the three pastors captured in Kaduna state during a church camp prayer meeting have been released, while the third died after being abandoned in the wild, according to Morning Star News.

A man rides a motorbike in the countryside of Kaduna StateReuters

Rev Iliya Anto was found dead in the bush 10 days after the March 21 abduction, according to Rev Jibrailu Wobiya, general secretary of United Church of Christ in Nigeria. Earlier reports had claimed that Anto had been released by kidnappers due to ill health.

The details of his death are unconfirmed, but it has been claimed he died after the kidnappers left him in the wild.

Anto was a pastor and vice president of the HEKAN church in Kaduna city, and was abducted alongside Rev Dr Emmanuel Dziggau, president of the church, and Rev Yakubu Dzarma, a retired church leader.

The other two pastors were released on March 30.

"I can now confirm the release of the two," Wobiya told Morning Star News.

"Unfortunately, the third pastor, the Rev Iliya Anto, died during the incident."

All three men belong to the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (TUCCN) and were preparing for an Easter retreat when they were kidnapped by armed men, who attacked the camp site in Kaduna. The assailants attacked the camp at 10am. Armed with AK-47s and with covered faces, they captured the three pastors and put them in the back of a van.

The assailants had demanded a ransom of 100 million naira (US$500,000). Wobiya did not say whether the church paid the sum, declining to discuss the issue.

"We are saddened by this incident, and we are traumatised by it," he said. "We are at the moment mourning the death of the Rev Anto and are preparing for his funeral. I do not have much to say on this at the moment, because I am not in the right frame of mind to discuss this issue."