Christian Persecution Mar/Apr 2022

Kidnapped Pastor Slain Despite Ransom Payment
Muslims who kidnapped a Christian pastor in northern Nigeria killed him in December after receiving ransom payments from the church that were delivered by his wife, reported Morning Star News.

The Rev. Dauda Pautre of the First Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) was kidnapped by armed Fulani herdsmen in November while working on his farm. Church leaders learned of his death December 9 when the killers called “and informed them that they had killed the pastor since they could not bring more money,” the Rev. Joseph Hayab, chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Morning Star News in a text message.

Pastor Pautre’s wife, who was kidnapped and released, told church leaders her husband preached Christ to his captors and prayed for their repentance, infuriating them and likely contributing to their decision to kill him, according to Pastor Hayab. “The death of Rev. Pautre came as a rude shock to us,” said an ECWA member.

Nigeria led the world in the number of kidnapped Christians in 2020 (990), according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. It was also the country with the most Christians killed for their faith between November 2019 and October 2020 (3,530). In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan and trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed (270). In 2021, Nigeria jumped from Number 12 to Number 9 on Open Doors’ list of countries persecuting Christians.

Killed In Their Beds
Three children were among 10 Christians slaughtered in Nigeria as they slept in their beds late last year. At least 690 others were wounded as Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked a village en masse in a predominantly Christian area between midnight and 2 a.m.

Six of the 10 Christians killed were from one family, while the other four were killed in four homes. Sen. Istifanus Gyang, who represents Plateau state in Nigeria’s parliament, expressed concern that armed herdsmen have been allowed to attack Christians continuously.

“These terrorists have been emboldened to undertake repeated attacks due to the inability of the government to give clear and definite orders to the military to decisively engage the terrorists to end the cycle of attacks on peace-loving Christians and their communities in Plateau state,” Gyang said in a press statement.

Although thousands of Christians in Nigeria have been murdered, the U.S. State Department in November removed Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate violations of religious freedom. Christian Solidarity International President John Eibner criticized the move. “Removing this largely symbolic sign of concern is a brazen denial of reality and indicates that the U.S. intends to pursue its interests in western Africa through an alliance with Nigeria’s security elite, at the expense of Christians and other victims of widespread sectarian violence, especially in the country’s predominantly Christian Middle Belt region,” Eibner said. “If the U.S. CPC list means anything at all—an open question at this point—Nigeria belongs on it.”

“The goal of these attacks,” Eibner said, “is to weaken and eliminate indigenous non-Muslim populations from the region and entrench Muslim supremacy in this historically contested space, for the political benefit of Nigeria’s current rulers.”

A sharp rise in attacks led to a Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria in 2020, and the situation has only deteriorated since then.

To read these reports and many more in full, go to morningstarnews.org.

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