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Abducted Christian Leader in Nigeria Reportedly Dies in Captivity

Late Rev. Dauda Bature. Credit: CSW

A Nigerian Church leader who was abducted on November 8 by suspected Fulani militants has reportedly died in captivity.

Human Rights foundation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), reported on Tuesday, December 14 that the suspected militants had confirmed the death of Rev. Dauda Bature who had been abducted from his farm in central Kaduna State.

The abduction, CSW reported, had been followed by a lot of back and forth, with the church leader’s wife, Mrs. Haddasa Bature also being taken captive at some point.

“Mrs. Bature was released on December 6,” CSW reports, and adds, “However, when the church secretary, who has been negotiating with the abductors, called them two days after they claimed to have released Rev Bature; they said he had died a while ago.”

According to the human rights foundation, Rev. Bature’s wife was abducted on November 18 when she attempted to deliver the ransom she had negotiated with the terrorists for her husband, and which they subsequently claimed was insufficient.

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CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas described Mrs. Bature’s ordeal as “a grim example of the unimaginable grief” that he said had engulfed many families in the Nigerian State that is experiencing attacks.

“Our heartfelt prayers and condolences are with Reverend Dauda Bature’s family and congregation, and with all those who lost loved ones in the violence in recent days,” Mr. Mervyn said.

He added, “Mrs. Bature’s ordeal is a grim example of the unimaginable grief, hardship and uncertainty inflicted on families in Kaduna State, at the heart of this crisis of lawlessness. We continue to call for a holistic security plan to defeat this threat and to enable civilians to go about their lives in safety.”

“These levels of insecurity constitute a national emergency, and we appeal to the Nigerian government to address every source of violence urgently, in order to arrest the country’s progressive decline into failed statehood,” the CSW official said.

The Christian foundation expresses concern that since 2015, thousands have died and tens of thousands have been displaced in “a campaign of attacks” on predominantly Christian communities in central Nigeria by assailants of Fulani origin.

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CSW says that for the Fulani people, religion is “increasingly either a recruitment factor or a governing ethos.”

Kaduna State has become an epicenter for kidnapping and banditry activity as communities have suffered relentless attacks since 2011, with a significant uptick in 2015 characterized by a steadily rising number of abductions and murders of members of the Clergy and church goers.

The human rights foundation gives the example of an incident on October 31 when gunmen attacked the Emmanuel Baptist Church at Kakau Daji in Chikun LGA, killing two people and abducting 66 others. 

“The abductors, who demanded a N99 million (US$240,400.00) ransom, released a video on 6 November in which they stated they were targeting Christians deliberately, and shot five young men selected at random, three of whom died,” the leadership of the foundation recounts, adding that the remaining captives were freed on December 4 following payment of an undisclosed ransom. 

The foundation also makes reference to the September 12 attack in which suspected Fulani militants shot and mutilated the body of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali, senior pastor of ECWA Kibori-Asha Awuce in Zonzon District Church Council (DCC).

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The body of the church official, CSW recounts, was found around half a kilometre from his home in southern Kaduna. 

The Christian foundation expresses concern that the violence has rendered rural communities unsafe and is increasingly affecting the Kaduna State capital.

Statistics compiled by the Kaduna State government indicate that 343 people were killed and 830 were abducted between July and September 2021, while a total of 545 people were killed and 1,723 abducted between January to June. Among the latter are three students from Bethel Baptist High School who have been held by their captors since July 5.

According to the Christian entity, the ongoing violence in Kaduna affecting farming communities in Central Nigeria has been insufficiently addressed, and has “metastasized”, occasioning similar death and displacement in Muslim communities of Hausa ethnicity in North-western states.

The lack of seriousness in addressing the violence, CSW says, has also led to the rise in abductions for ransom across the country by assailants of predominantly Fulani origin.

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