Christianity News Daily

Tragedy strikes as a Nigerian pastor, his family, and fellow Christians are killed.

Multiple sources confirm that an ambush on a highway in Taraba state, northeastern Nigeria, led to the deaths of an African Church pastor, his wife, and son, along with several other Christians. Sources said.

The Reverend Abah Jacob, along with his wife Marian Abah and their son, were killed alongside other Christians near Mararaba on the highway between Gankwe and Mararaba in Donga County, according to a group of pastors who spoke at a press conference in Jalingo on Saturday (March 23).

The Rev. Nathaniel Saawua stated at the press conference that Pastor Jacob was in charge of the African Church of Kyado Archdeaconry at Adi Parish in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba state. He said dozens of other Christians were wounded in the attack and were treated at various hospitals.

“But since the gruesome murder, nobody is bothered because not one family member of the victims has been contacted by the authorities, and no official visitation to the families by any government official from Bali or Donga local government councils,” Pastor Saawua said.

Among those who were wounded but escaped, some have no finances to sustain their hospital stays, he said.

According to Pastor Saawua, one person has already died in the hospital, and some patients can’t afford their treatment expenses. By highlighting this unfortunate circumstance, we urge concerned authorities to take action and encourage empathetic individuals to assist the victims and their grieving loved ones in easing their physical and emotional suffering.

The pastors called for an investigation into the killing of these Christians.

Church member Apeife Malachi Aondofa said Pastor Jacob and his wife and child “were killed in cold blood while they were on a pastoral visit to the church’s mission field at Adi parish in the Gazabu area of Bali Local Government Area. The pastor and other Christians traveling alongside them were killed in Maraba town.”

Other church members who sent text messages to Christian Daily International-Morning Star News before the press conference also described the assailants as “terrorists” or “Fulani terrorists.”

Taraba Gov. Agbu Kefas directed police and other security agencies to investigate.

Nigeria remained the deadliest place in the world to follow Christ, with 4,118 people killed for their faith from Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL) report. More kidnappings of Christians than in any other country also took place in Nigeria, at 3,300.

According to the report, Nigeria ranked third in the number of attacks on Christian buildings, including churches, hospitals, schools, and cemeteries, with 750 incidents.

In the 2024 WWL of the countries where it is most challenging to be a Christian, Nigeria was ranked No. 6, as in the previous year.

Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many lineages who do not hold extremist views. Still, some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a 2020 report.

“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen’s attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are driven by their desire to seize Christians’ lands and impose Islam, as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.

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