Nigeria: Three killed in attacks on two churches in Kaduna
By Vatican News staff reporter
Unknown gunmen suspected to be terrorists attacked worshippers at a Catholic church and a Baptist church on Sunday morning - both of them located in Kajuru Local Government Area, Kaduna State - in the latest instance of insecurity in Nigeria.
Media reports say the attackers struck Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses Catholic Church on 19 June, killing at least three people, injuring two others, and kidnapping over thirty persons in the raid.
The attack came barely a week after some terrorists invaded communities in the same Kajuru LGA, killing over 30 villagers.
Attacks in Nigeria
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the attacks, said that gunmen riding motorcycles targeted four villages, beginning from Ungwan Fada and moving into Ungwan Turawa, before Ungwan Makama and then Rubu.
In Rubu village, the unknown gunmen attacked worshippers in the Baptist and Catholic churches.
Aruwan also confirmed that three persons were killed, two persons injured, and an unspecified number of locals were also kidnapped during the attacks.
The bandits also looted shops and carted away some valuables from the villages.
Deputy governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, condemned the attacks and expressed her deep sadness. She also condoled with the families of the deceased victims and prayed for the repose of their souls.
Meanwhile, security patrols are being conducted in the area as investigations into the attacks continue.
Insecurity in Nigeria
Though it is unclear who is behind the attacks in Kajuru, instances of violence are not uncommon in the north of Africa’s most populous country where authorities have had long-running security challenges.
Nigeria’s security woes started over a decade ago with the rise of the Boko Haram extremist Islamic terrorist group. Adding to that, clashes between the nomadic Fulani herdsmen and the more stable indigenous farmers have increased, fueled by disputes of grazing land and access to water.
In recent years, the activities of bandits, commonly referred to as “unknown gunmen” have left many citizens afraid for their lives as these violent groups have been linked to attacks on rural communities, killings of dozens of people, and kidnappings, including of members of the clergy.
On 29 May, the prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Samuel Kanu-Uche; his chaplain, along with the Methodist bishop of the Owerri diocese were kidnapped. The clerics were only released two days later after paying a N100 million ransom.
Two weeks ago, a group of armed persons stormed St. Francis Xavier parish in Owo, Ondo State during a Pentecost Sunday Mass. The attackers gunned down over 40 people, injured dozens and left behind a gory scene. A funeral Mass for the victims of the Owo massacre was held in Friday.
In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Jude Arogundade of Ondo lamented the killings of innocent Christians and called on the government to do more to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, especially in the face of the increasingly daring attacks of the bandits.
Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the Owo attack, commending the souls of the dead to the loving mercy of God and imploring divine healing and consolation upon those who are grieving. The Holy Father also prayed for the conversion of those blinded by hatred and violence, so that they will choose instead the path of peace and righteousness.”