Catholic, Baptist Churches in Kaduna State, Nigeria, Attacked During Sunday Worship

Kaduna State in northern Nigeria. | CSW.

Gunmen have reportedly attacked worshippers at Catholic and Baptist churches in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State in Nigeria, the Nigerian State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs has confirmed.

In a Monday, June 20 report, Samuel Aruwa provides details about the Sunday, June 19 attack on St. Moses Catholic Church and Maranatha Baptist Church that, according to the Associated Press, resulted in the killing of three people, “abduction of unspecified number of residents and the destruction of houses before the assailants managed to escape”.

“Based on security reports made available to the state government, the bandits attacked worshippers and locals at the Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses Catholic Church Ungwan Fada, Ungwan Turawa, and Ungwan Makama in Rubu general area of Kajuru LGA,” Mr. Aruwa has been quoted as saying.

The Kaduna State official adds, “The bandits stormed the villages on motorcycles, beginning from Ungwan Fada, and moving into Ungwan Turawa, before Ungwan Makama and then Rubu.”

“Two persons were left injured in the attacks; one Aniro Mai, and a yet-unidentified woman. An unspecified number of locals were also kidnapped, according to the received reports,” he says.


In the June 20 report, a source is quoted as saying, “The terrorists shot indiscriminately as they approached the various churches, killing three while several others sustained injuries.”

“Three of the worshippers were gunned down by the terrorists and many are still missing. One of the victims was taken to St. Gerald Catholic Hospital in the state capital,” the source adds.

According to Kaduna State Commissioner, “The terrorists looted some shops while valuable items were carted away.”

He goes on to identity the three persons killed during the June 19 attack as “Peter Madaki (Ward head of Ungwan Fada), Elisha Ezekiel (Resident of Ungwan Fada), and Ali Zamani (Youth leader of Rubu).”

The June 19 attack comes after two weeks after the Pentecost Sunday attacked on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese in which at least 40 worshippers lost their lives.

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In his homily during the Funeral Mass for the victims of the Pentecost Sunday attack, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo highlighted the uniqueness of the June 5 tragedy.

“We have seen tragedies in Nigeria and we have seen brutal murders but few can really compare with the brutality and gruesomeness of the event on that Pentecost Sunday,” Bishop Badejo said during the June 17 event held at the Mydas Event Centre in Owo, Nigeria.

On a visit to the Church with innocent blood still spattered on the floor and walls of the sanctuary, the Nigerian Catholic recalled, “I could almost hear the victims as they were attacked right inside the Church, cry out like Jesus Christ, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachtani: My God, My God why have you forsaken me’”?

The 60-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Oyo Diocese since November 2009 regretted the loss the West African nation experienced in the Pentecost Sunday massacre.

He said, “In these coffins a part of Nigeria lies dead too…Because lying down here with these deceased ones are the joys and hopes and aspirations of their families and loved ones, of the Church of God, of the various communities from where they come and indeed of this country.”


“Even the ones who are maimed and wounded themselves wherever they are, represent Nigeria with all her self-inflicted wounds, bruised, brutalized and violated. So, I ask, for how much longer shall this continue?” Bishop Badejo posed.

He further posed, “From President Muhammad’s BUHARI, from the federal government the lawmakers, security agencies and all leaders with responsibility for the State at all levels, I ask … How many more must die?”

“To surrender to faith is not to surrender to bestial murder, injustice, discrimination or oppression,” Bishop Badejo said.

He added, “Our Christian faith, strong as it is, is thoroughly tested when we remember that the massacre in OWO is not an isolated case in our country and that we see little on ground to indicate that it might be the last. In fact, we have a long, bloody list, always growing over the last 30 odd years.”

“Even as I speak many Priests and citizens of Nigeria are in the hands of kidnappers,” Bishop Badejo told mourners June 17.

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Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.

Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

The insecurity situation in the country has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.