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Call for Prayer after Bandits Torch Church, Kill Three in Nigeria’s Kaduna Archdiocese

Nigeria's Kaduna State and other neighboring states

A Priest in Nigeria’s Kaduna Archdiocese has asked for prayers after the attack that saw bandits torch a Catholic church, kill three people, and kidnap another three over the weekend. 

In a Monday, March 1 interview with ACI Africa, the Priest-In-Charge of St. Michael’s Pastoral Area of the Archdiocese of Kaduna in Nigeria’s Northwestern Kaduna State says that last Saturday, St. Augustine Kutura in Kajuru Local Government area was torched.

Recalling the unfortunate events that took place at about 10 p.m. February 27, Fr. Bivang Thaddeus said, “Keep us in your prayers. One of my outstations, St. Augustine Kutura in Kajuru Local Government Area, was attacked.”

"I lost a few people including my Church leader," Fr. Bivang told ACI Africa, adding that a member of the laity and another member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) also lost their lives during the February 27 attack. 

Three other people were kidnapped in the incident that has seen the people of God in Kutura abandon their homes for safety, the Nigerian-born Cleric said.

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In a Sunday, February 28 report, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the February 27 incident and also indicated that bandits attacked the neighboring Igabi Local Government area where they killed four residents. 

The February 27 kidnappings and murder comes days after local media reported the torching of a Catholic Church in Kajuru Local Government Area, reports that Fr. Bivang refuted

On February 21, local media reported that the Holy Family Catholic Church in Kajuru Local Government Area, within St. Michael’s Pastoral Area, and two homes in Kikwari village had been attacked and razed by armed bandits.

Terming the claims as "not true at all", the Clergy of Kaduna Archdiocese said that the false media reports about the burning of a church creates tension and injury among the people of God.

“When you talk like that, instead of creating healing, you are creating more wounds and injury. When Christians from all over begin to see such kind of information, the hatred against non-Christians increases,” Fr. Bivang said, making reference to false media reports.

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He called on the people of God within his pastoral jurisdiction to be strong in faith saying the experiences they are going through “could be a purifying, moment or a moment for them to encounter what it means to be a Christian.”

Nigeria's Northwestern region has witnessed increasing insecurity in recent weeks. 

Well over 300 girls were kidnapped from their school by gunmen on February 26 in Zamfara State. 

In the neighboring Niger State, bandits attacked the Government Science Secondary School in the District of Kagara and abducted 42 people, among them, 27 students, three members of staff, and 12 members of their families. They were released from captivity on February 27.

Making reference to the state of insecurity in Nigeria, Catholic Bishops in the West African nation, in a recent collective statement, called for urgent action lest the country collapses.

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In their February 23 statement shared with ACI Africa, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) called on the people of God in the West African nation to pray and work for the achievement of "one Nigeria under God where the principle of the common good will be thought out and enshrined."